Category Archives: Winterize Your Home

Winterize Outdoor Faucets – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

Winter comes along and apparently tries to destroy our water lines every year. The best way to minimize the damage from cold weather on household plumbing is to do a little preventive winterizing. A good starting point is to winterize outside faucets and fixtures. These few steps will take a small amount of time but they could save you a lot of money and inconvenience.

Disconnect

 It is very important to remove hoses, splitters or connections from the spigot during the winter, no matter what kind of hose bibs you have, freeze proof or not. Not removing hoses or any other connections from the hose bib can trap water and can therefore cause the fixture to freeze. This is always a difficult step to take because most people will want to use the outside water until the very point when freezing weather begins. It’s best to preempt the cold weather by disconnecting hoses early since even one night of freezing weather can cause a break in the pipes.

Inspect

 Leak detection and repair is the next step to winterize outside faucets. Check all hose bibs, yard hydrants and other fixtures for leaks and drips. Repair or replace the fixture if you do find any leaks or drips before the temperature drops to freezing. Water dripping, no matter how slowly, can block up and freeze in the pipe or fixture. Although a frozen outdoor faucet may not be apparent until the next season it may be possible to minimize the damage by repairing the leak before the winter.

Drain

Get as much water out of the pipes to winterize outdoor faucets. If you have a hose bib that is not freeze proof the best way to do this is to shut off that line if possible and drain it down. If you cannot isolate the water supply to hose bib to shut it off be sure to use extra insulation in the next step.

For a frost free hose bib or a yard hydrant, this step isn’t necessary since the fixture design keeps water well back away from the end of the spigot. Just as with regular hose bibs, however, hoses and other attachments should be removed from frost free hose bibs and yard hydrants before the winter or they may not drain down properly.

Protect

Protect outdoor faucets with insulation. An easy way to do this is to install a hose bib cover on each outdoor fixture including frost free hose bibs. Hose bib covers are square or dome shaped to fit right over outdoor faucets. They are made of thick foam so they are quite effective at keeping most of the cold away from the valve. When covering regular hose bibs that could not be drained extra insulation can be installed inside the hose bib cover to keep it warm and dry throughout the winter. In most situations, however, the hose bib cover will provide enough insulation.

 One of the most important things you can do to keep a freeze proof faucet from freezing during the cold season is to remove the hose. If a hose is attached to the faucet it can prevent residual water from draining. The trapped water can freeze and completely defeat the purpose of the freeze proof faucet. Frost free hose bibs should be covered as well because although they are resistant to freezing they are not completely frost proof in the coldest weather. There are rubber gaskets and washers inside the frost free hose bibs that will benefit from the extra protection from the cold that a hose bib cover can provide.

No matter which faucet cover style you use they will help protect most faucets from some of the hardest freezes. Using covers as part of your plumbing winterizing routine can save you time and money in the spring when most outdoor freeze damage becomes obvious.

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Avoid Frozen Pipes! – The Importance of Heat Tape – ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING & AIR

Before the cold season, you should do a yearly pre-season inspection to ensure that your heat tapes are plugged into a GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlet and that the outlet has power to it. You can also have a switch installed inside the home to turn on the heat tapes as necessary if you don’t already. Insulating your pipes is necessary but it is not always enough when the temperatures stay cold for days at a time, therefore, installing quality heat tape can be a lifesaver when water lines are exposed to freezing temperatures. If you have ever experienced frozen or broken waterlines, you know what a good idea it is to be prepared.

Types of Heat Tape

There are a few different types of heat tape that can be used on water lines. Knowing what options are available will help you make the best decision when winterizing your home plumbing.

  • Self regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape can be cut to any length for a custom fit. Quite a few brands make this relatively new type of heat cable that automatically varies its heat output with changes in the surrounding temperatures. Often this type of heat tape can even be overlapped safely (check the manufacturer’s instructions) and there is no temperature control required. You can buy self regulating heat cable by the roll and sometimes even by the foot in some hardware or home improvement stores. A connection kit with an end plug and outlet are required for this type of heat tape.
  • Non regulating heating cable: This type of heat tape is regulated by a thermostat. It can be purchased by the foot or in a roll as well. The heating cable can be custom fit to your application because it can be cut to any size that is needed and the ends are then added to the length of cable. This type of heat tape will require a connection kit with an end plug and outlet as well as a thermostat to regulate the temperature.
  • Heated water hoses: These are great for anyone who needs to use water hoses in the winter. Heated water hoses come in many lengths and they are made by many manufactures. Having a heated water hose means you can have reliable running water in freezing temperatures. Heated hoses have wires that are embedded into the hose wall. When they are plugged in the wires heat the hose all the way through to the end. These hoses will shut off automatically in warm weather to save on electricity and prevent overheating.
  • Automatic electric heat cable kits: Heat tape kits are now smarter than ever and probably come in just about any length you might need in an already pre-terminated complete package with a power indicator light at the plug. Most of these units come with a built in thermostat that will turn on and off saving electricity because it only heats when the temperature is cold enough. Installing the new complete package heat tape is quick and easy.

Mobile Home Skirting

The main reason behind the importance of mobile home skirting is that it can save you money on things like utilities and it can protect your home from environmental elements like flooding, provide support for the mobile home itself, and add insulation and protection from rodents, animals and pests which often use this space as a shelter. The effects of climatic factors can also be held responsible for the cracks and ruptures in flooring and the elements placed below your mobile home. Skirting can efficiently help to reduce ruptures and cracks thereby protecting your home.

Various Types of Skirting

There are many different types of mobile home skirting that exist, leaving you with a vast array of options. Some important factors you should also consider include what exactly you want to do with it including aesthetics vs saving money on heating and cooling, or both. Also, what type of budget you’re working with.

  • Vinyl is one of the most popular choices because it’s easily the cheapest one for mobile home owners. it is easy to install, flexible, very washable and durable. Although, compared to other materials, vinyl is quite flimsy and if you have any case of extreme weather or various animals getting under your mobile home, investing your money into something more durable or stronger would be wise.
  • Galvanized metal and aluminum are both economic and also come in an array of styles and color, with natural metal seen as beneficial, since it can help insulate your home with light-reflecting capabilities.
  • Concrete and stone are the least popular considering it is very costly and extremely hard to work with due to its lack of flexibility, since mobile homes tend to shift a lot, leaving holes and cracks. In general, when dealing with heavy material, you’ll have to understand that they usually do require things like ventilation and sometimes professional installation.
  • Brick is probably the best option in terms of aesthetic and attractiveness. However, brick is expensive and requires masonry equipment and mortar, so you might want to hire a professional to do this for you. It is also very reliable in extreme conditions.

ACE HI PLUMBING, HEATING, & AIR – WINTER HOME SAFETY AUDIT

To make sure your home and family get through this coming winter both safe and sound, you should take the time to do your own home safety audit. Follow these steps to perform your winter safety audit.

STEP ONE – INSPECT THE FURNACE

Start with the obvious and have a professional inspect and service your furnace. Everyone is going to be spending more time indoors during the winter. You should make sure that your furnace is working properly, the pilot light and the thermostat are both working properly and the filter is clean. You should also make sure that there are no leaks or openings in your supply lines or furnace ducts.

Experts recommend changing regular furnace filters once a month during the heating season and changing high-efficiency filters at least every three months. Make sure to get a supply of filters that fit your unit. Having clean furnace filters is extremely important. A blocked furnace filter can cause the “limit switch” on your furnace to activate, turning it off and leaving you without heat until the switch is replaced by a professional.

Be sure to remove any flammable items from around your furnace including paints, paint thinners, and paper products. If you have a fireplace, be sure to have the chimney cleaned to get rid of any creosote buildup and eliminate the possibility of chimney fire.

STEP 2 – SEAL THE FOUNDATION AGAINST RODENTS

Seal any openings in your walls including the tiny ones and move any piles of wood or firewood away from your foundation. A mouse can get through a 1/4-inch opening. This will keep the mice and voles out of your home. These animals are not dangerous but could be carrying diseases. No one wants to share their home with dirty rodents.

People need handrails and solid steps in icy conditions so be sure your steps and handrails are sound. Repair them now while the weather is still warm. Doing so can prevent accidents from happening this winter

STEP 3 – CUT THE OUTDOOR WATER SUPPLY

Shut off the water supply to your outside taps and drain the supply lines as it gets colder in the fall. Doing so guarantees that there will be no water left in the pipes to freeze and burst them.

STEP 4 – PREPARE THE CARBON MONOXIDE AND SMOKE DETECTORS

Be sure to have fresh batteries for your Carbon Monoxide and smoke detectors if you have these installed in your home. If you do not have these installed, now is the time to do so. They are easy to install and inexpensive. Most importantly, they could save a life. Also, be sure to have your fire extinguisher checked. Consider buying a new one if the extinguisher is more than 10 years old.

STEP 5 – PREPARE FOR EMERGENCIES

Prepare your emergency kit. You will need candle and a lighter or matches, a flashlight and batteries, a portable radio, blankets, and warm clothes for everyone. Be sure to stock bottled water and nonperishable foods for your family and pets, a first aid kit, And finally, be sure to have a camp cooking stove in order to have warm meals even if it’s only canned soup.

Preparing Your Home For Winter

Preparing your home for winter can be a challenge.  Make sure you check your windows and doors for air leaks.

Apply caulk around leaks to help seal out the cold.  Remove your hose from the outside faucet when temperatures drop down around freezing.

Furnace should be inspected by a licensed contractor.  A carbon monoxide check should be completed at the time of inspection.

Boilers should be inspected yearly.  They should be cleaned and serviced.

If you have an evaporative cooler it should be covered for the winter season.

Ace Hi Plumbing,Heating and Air can help you with all of these services.  We have trained technicians who are ready to serve you.

Furnace Inspections

Summer is coming to an end, before the cold weather hits, we would like to recommend having your furnace inspected. You want to make sure your furnace is in good running order and prevent it from conking out when you need it the most.

It’s a lot like a car, you need to have check ups once in awhile. If you have this inspected once a year, it can save you money in the long run. It will also help the life span on your furnace by having annual inspections.

Experts say up to 75 percent of no-heat calls in the winter are related to a lack of maintenance. A furnace can stop working suddenly, leaving you and your family in the cold.
It could also be a health hazard. An annual inspection can reveal a carbon monoxide leaks, which are hard to detect because gas is colorless and odorless. Carbon monoxide can lead to head aches, dizziness, nausea, and even death. An estimated 500 people die each year, and 15,000 people are taken to the emergency rooms, because of exposure.

Not maintaining your furnace-whether it’s gas or electric-can cause it to run less efficiently, making it work harder, therefore increasing your monthly energy bills.

HVAC systems are one of the most complex systems that run through your home, so do yourself a favor and schedule an appointment.