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Homeowner’s Checklist: February

Frozen February!

February in Central Ohio is freezing! The extreme temperatures have us bundling up whenever we venture outside. More often than not, we stay in when we can. It’s nice to be warm and cozy in our homes when it’s so cold out. There are a few things homeowners can do to protect their homes from the frosty temperatures as well.

Here are a few things every homeowner should do in the month of February:

Change furnace filters

As the temperatures plummet, your heating system is probably running nonstop. One way to make sure it keeps running, and does so at its highest efficiency, is to change the filter! Dirty air filters force your furnace to work twice as hard to move air through your home. This results in higher energy bills and a shorter lifespan for your furnace. What’s more, a clogged air filter allows dust, mold, and other nasty stuff to circulate through your home. Clean air filters work to trap these impurities, so you and your family can breathe easy!

Protect pipes from freezing

Uninsulated pipes that run through unheated spaces are in danger of freezing any time the temperature dips below 20° F, but with the temperatures we are experiencing, it’s wise to take precautions to prevent all pipes from freezing. Water damage from burst pipes is pretty common in the winter, and can cost thousands of dollars to repair.

Your best bet is to reduce the chances of freezing in the first place by taking these simple steps:

  1. Keep your garage door closed to keep the cold air out, especially if you have any plumbing running through the garage or along shared walls.
  2. Keep bathroom and kitchen cabinet doors open to allow warmer air to circulate around pipes.
  3. Allow a slow drip of cold water to run from faucets. Running water, even if it’s just a trickle, will help prevent a pipe from freezing.
  4. Leave your heat on. Never allow the temperature in your home to dip below 55° F, even if you’re out of town. Experts recommend leaving your thermostat at a steady temperature throughout the day and night to prevent any temperature swings that can impact freezing pipes.

“How will I know if a pipe is frozen?” If only a trickle comes out when you turn a faucet on, it may be frozen. The Trinity Group at HER’s Director of Maintenance, Craig Long, advises extreme caution when dealing with a suspected frozen pipe. “If you try to thaw the pipe and it has already burst,” he says, “the water will flood the home!” We advise our residents to place an emergency call to our maintenance team at the first sign of a frozen pipe. As a homeowner, there are a few things you can do. The American Red Cross offers some great suggestions on dealing with frozen pipes on your own on their website. If you’re not comfortable taking this on or you suspect a more serious problem, call a licensed plumber.

Find a trusted pro

The Trinity Group at HER Realtors is here to help you protect the investment you’ve made in your home, long after the papers are signed on closing day. Remember, we work with skilled contractors regularly to maintain our own homes and the properties we manage. We’re happy to pass along the names of trustworthy pros that we trust.