Segment 1: Prevent Frozen Pipes
Ahhh, Winter. There’s a lot of fun that come with a Michigan Winter. And then . . . there are the other things. One of those other things is the worry about frozen pipes during cold spells. A frozen and burst pipe in the home is one of the most catastrophic issues that can happen in a home. But, the good news is that there are things we can do to prevent this from happening to you!
INSULATE EXPOSED SUPPLY PIPES ALONG EXTERIOR WALLS
One step is to insulate the supply pipes that run along exterior walls or in cabinets along exterior walls. Pipe insulation is inexpensive and can help, but it’s important to understand that it’s not a silver bullet! Also, consider the fact that insulated pipes will be harder to thaw should the pipe still freeze. But, overall, it can still be an important step given your situation.
If you have unheated areas or spots that are especially concerning, you might want to consider heat tape. Check with a plumber to make sure you get the right kind for your situation and install it correctly.
MAINTAIN A CONSISTENT TEMPERATURE IN THE HOME
We tend to want to shut doors, close vents, and turn down the heat in the winter to save on energy expenses. However, that can be counterproductive when it comes to protecting your pipes. It’s recommended instead that you open the interior doors, keep the heat set at a more consistent level, and keep those vents open. Shutting doors and closing vents can actually be harmful to your HVAC system (if you close enough of them), and the lack of consistent heat could be just enough to allow pipes along an exterior wall to freeze.
OPEN CABINET DOORS
Building on the concept above, open the cabinet doors that house pipes during the coldest weather. The cabinet doors can actually block off those pipes from the heat in the house and if there’s cold enough temps, or a bit of an air leak from outside, pipes can easily freeze. We ran across a story out of Chicago where a pipe in a home froze in a heated space. After cleaning up the mess, the investigation into the cause of the problem determined that a drafty window coupled with high winds and low wind chill caused a single area of the pipe to freeze. So, open those doors when it’s super cold! Just watch your knees when you walk by!
RUN THE TAPS AT A SLOW TRICKLE
It’s an age-old solution, but it works. Running the water at an extremely slow trickle reduces the pressure in the system. It doesn’t have to be much, but it might save you a mess.
LOCATE AND SEAL CRACKS, HOLES, ETC. WHERE COLD GETS IN
Take a look in your basement for areas where the cold gets in. Even a small hole or a drafty window can cause a problem. And, on top of that, it’s a huge energy waste! A great trick to finding trouble spots is to light a stick of incense and let it smoke. Then walk around the perimeter of the room, holding it up to the sill plate and around windows. Watch the smoke and see what it does. When you find a drafty spot or a trouble area, the smoke will demonstrate it! Seal those spots up with spray foam, caulk, or, if it turns out to be a bigger project than you can tackle, contact an expert. We’d recommend WMGB Home Improvements!
DISCONNECT GARDEN HOSES FROM OUTSIDE FAUCETS
If you leave the hoses on the faucets all winter, you could end up with damage from freezing, but you generally won’t find out about it until next Spring! An easy fix is to remove the hoses! Also, if possible, you could shut off the water to the outside faucets and drain them to make sure there’s no issues come April!
FIND YOUR SHUT OFF TODAY!
One last word of advice is to locate the main shut off valve today. Know where it is in the house and figure out how it works. It’s certainly not a complicated mechanism, but there are definitely stories of people who run into a problem and in the panic of the situation, can’t find the valve. A lot of damage can be prevented if you can act quickly and get the water shut 0ff! And, if you’ve got kids who are home during the day while parents work, it certainly would be beneficial to make them aware of the location of the valve and how it works as well!
Segments 2-3: Christmas Decorating with Jennifer Butler and Andy Yates
Jennifer Butler and Andy Yates from Jennifer Butler Design in Grand Rapids stop by to talk Christmas Decorating. Some Do’s and Don’ts. And somehow, we end up talking about pomegranates and live squirrels incorporated into festive table centerpieces….
Segment 4: Wooster Sherlock Roller Frame and Our Christmas Contest!
You have to be paint people to have a “favorite” roller frame. And yet, as “nerdy” as it may be to say so, this roller frame rocks! Sure, it’s about 3.5 times as expensive as a cheap one . . . but that still puts it under $12! And when you think how long you keep a roller frame? Buying this premium tool is a no-brainer!
Here’s a quick video:
And now . . . for the contest! RepcoLite has teamed up with Wooster Brush Company to make some family’s Christmas pretty amazing! We’ll be giving away a prize package of Wooster Paint Tools, RepcoLite Paint, and Games from Out of the Box Games in Zeeland and Kentwood! You can get all the information about how to enter on RepcoLite’s Facebook Page.