Auburn, Alabama — Cold weather is slowly making its way to the South and it’s time for residents to prepare their homes.
Wil Golden, Alabama Extension coordinator for Macon County, said there are many steps homeowners should take each fall when planning for cold weather.
“Homes here aren’t made the same as they are in the North because of climate differences,” Golden said. “The weather here changes so much; it can be 80 degrees during the day and freezing at night.”
Prepare for freezing water
If water freezes in outside systems, it can damage those lines and even cause breaks.“You never know if you’ll get a freeze,” Golden said.
To avoid freezes in outside water lines, drain sprinkler systems and cut off outside faucets. Insulators can be used to seal outdoor faucets.
Indoor pipes are also subject to damage and breaks in freezing weather.
“Protect your pipes – that’s a big thing,” Golden said. If freezing weather hits with short notice, leaving faucets at a drip can prevent freezing. Opening cabinets to allow for warm air circulation closer to pipes will also help.
Insulate pipes when you have enough notice that especially cold weather is coming.
Clean roof and gutters
“People don’t realize how important it is to clean their roofs,” Golden said. Pine needles, leaves and other debris get into crevices on roofs, and if it is not cleaned out, it can cause dams. When debris blockages get wet, it can freeze underneath shingles and create cracks and leaks.
Those same damages can occur in neglected gutters as well. “Definitely clean the roof and gutters before cold weather hits,” Golden said.
Golden had several suggestions for saving energy during the winter.
Homeowners should make sure they have good insulation. Caulking around windows and doors prevent drafts. “Caulk can help save energy in old and new homes,” Golden said.
Water heaters have to work harder to heat up in cold weather. Residents can put sleeves around their heaters so that they do not waste energy heating the water.
Golden suggested reversing the direction of ceiling fans in cold weather. “Heat rises, so reversing the fan direction pushes heated air down into the home.
“The biggest thing is to clean your roof and gutters and to put cualk around windows and doors,” Golden said. “Do it every year.”