Tips for protecting your home from frozen pipes this winter

frozen pipesRain, ice and snow can play havoc with water pipes. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to help prevent plumbing emergencies.

Outside plumbing tips:

  • Caulk around pipes where they enter the home.
  • Close all foundation vents and fill vent openings with wood or Styrofoam blocks
  • Wrap outside faucets or hose bibs with insulation if you don’t have a separate outside valve to turn them off. Use molded foam-insulation covers which are available at hardware stores. Newspaper or rags (covered with plastic wrap) are another option.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and drain in-ground irrigation systems.

For inside plumbing:

  • Insulate pipes in unheated areas, such as attics, crawl spaces and basements.
  • When below-freezing weather is forecast, open cupboard doors in the kitchen and bathrooms. This allows these pipes to get more heat from inside your home.
  • If you leave home for several days, put your furnace on a low setting. This may not prevent freezing pipes but it can help.
  • Let a slight drip of water run when temperatures dip below freezing. Use cold water to avoid water heating charges.

What if pipes freeze?

  • Thaw plumbing lines safely with a hair dryer or heat lamp. Once the pipe has thawed, make sure to leave a little water running so the pipe doesn’t freeze again.
  • Do not open the water meter box near the curb. It could increase the chance of freezing water at the meter.

What if pipes break?

  • Close your main water shut-off valve to your house. Most shut-off valves are located where the water line enters the house, either at the front of your house where you connect your hose, or basement near the hot water heater, or inside the garage.
  • Turn off the water heater. Locate the dedicated shut-off valve on the cold water inlet.
  • Remember, the repair of broker pipes on the customer’s side of the meter is the customer’s responsibility. Contact a plumber for repair work.

Hopefully these tips will help prevent problems at your house this winter! Click here to learn more about protecting your home from frozen pipes.

Information courtesy of the Portland Water Bureau.

 


Kitchen Upgrades to Give Your House an Advantage over the Competition

Stainless steel appliancesWhether they are entertaining, creating new recipes or sharing culinary ideas with their spouses, today’s homeowners are spending more time in the kitchen than ever before. Not only can an updated, professional looking kitchen make food preparation easy and even enjoyable, spending some time and money in the kitchen before listing your home for sale is a great way to get buyers interested in your home.

The first step in making sure your kitchen is up to par is to upgrade to more durable products such as stainless steel kitchen sinks, refrigerators and ovens. Not only does stainless steel resist scratches, it is also easy to maintain.

Stainless steel, as it is a neutral color, is easy to match with just about any modern kitchen décor. These appliances usually come in a high-shine, mirror finish or a less bright, but still beautiful, brushed stainless steel finish. Stainless steel can withstand very hot and very cold temperatures, making the material ideal for appliances. Unlike plastic or ceramic, stainless steel does not break easily, even if dropped. Stainless steel may dent, but it will not shatter or chip the way other materials will.

Some home designers recommend wood cabinets as a way to contrast, complement and even add a warm, organic element to kitchens with stainless steel appliances. A nice backsplash can also do wonders.

For those looking for rich color along with durability, cast iron is a good alternative for sinks. If you have the room, you may want to think about adding additional sinks. Not only will multiple sinks simplify the cooking process, it also allows for better cleanup and organization.

Another great amenity for the kitchen is a pot filler, or an extendable faucet that can be installed next to your stovetop or prep sink for easy water access.

For the home chef who wants a professional place to cook, granite and quartz are the leading choices for countertops, especially for pastry chefs seeking an expansive workspace and a cool surface for rolling out dough.

If you’re looking to make food preparation even easier, movable cutting boards, rinsing baskets and various trays and receptacles will help get the job done quickly and properly.

Whether you’re updating your kitchen for your enjoyment or to help your house stand out among the competition, these ideas can do wonders in opening up the eyes of a potential buyer. To find a reputable contractor to assist you with a kitchen upgrade, please visit www.HomeServicesNW.com or call 1-877-231-3210 for assistance.


©2016 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently operated subsidiary of HomeServices of America, Inc., a Berkshire Hathaway affiliate, and a franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc. Equal Housing Opportunity.