COLUMBIA, Mo. (KMIZ)
Winter weather is blowing into Mid-Missouri, which means it's time to make sure the house is prepared to keep the cold out.
As the seasons change, there are a few things homeowners can do to make sure they're prepared for below-freezing temperatures. Experts say it's important to winterize your home correctly to avoid disasters, such as house fires or burst pipes, which can be costly and damaging.
Jeff Kendall, general manager at Westlake Ace Hardware, says there are several options for insulating pipes. Homeowners can choose between different types of pipe wrap, from foam to plastic, or even electrical pipe heaters.
"If you know you can't get to it, just leave a little trickle of water running and that'll keep the flow of water running so you don't get ice forming on your water lines," Kendall said.
Covering pipes when temperatures drop below freezing is important to keep them from breaking, which could flood the house. Kendall noted, one of the first things homeowners should do in the winter is disconnect the hose and cover the outdoor faucet.
Insulate cracks in doors, windows
Cold air will take any opportunity to rush into your warm house, so it's important to cover any cracks leading to the outside.
"People are still going to have their thermostat set on whatever they like, but [window covers] will help the furnace from working as much to try to maintain that temperature," Kendall said.
Covers and foam insulation can be put on windows and doors. Garage doors can especially let in a lot of air.
"That cold air can sneak into the smallest of cracks, people don't even realize it," Kendall said.
Prepare for possible power outages, ice storms
With winter in Missouri comes the possibility of severe storms. In the case of a days-long storm, don't be caught unprepared.
"You want to make sure you're personally prepared in case the power goes out if there's an ice storm or something," Kendall said. "Just make sure you have a supplemental heat source."
Space heaters can be the cause of some disastrous house fires if used inappropriately. Never plug a space heater into an extension cord or run the wires under rugs.
"If you are running a supplemental heat source, make sure it is rated for indoors because they can put off a lot of carbon monoxide," Kendall said.
There are several things homeowners can do year-round to make sure the house is working efficiently come any weather.
"Something you can do throughout the year to help maintain that is to make sure you keep changing your furnace filters," Kendall said. "They can get clogged up and it really takes away from the efficiency of your furnace or your air conditioner."