Did you know that Progressive Insurance says that they had over 30,000 claims due to frozen pipes and that the average claim was over $10,000. You may say to yourself, “We live in Florida , the Sunshine State, I don’t have to worry” but our winters can get pretty cold here in Pensacola and can cause several problems if you don’t prepare and protect your home.
Here are a few things you can do to protect your home and personal property before the thermometer dips below 32 degrees.
1. Insure that all outside pipes are insulated with pipe wrap. Most hardware stores carry different types of pipe insulation that can be easily installed and left on all year long.
2. Make sure you have some faucet covers available for when cold snaps come. Don’t wait until you need them because these fly off the shelves faster than flashlights do when a hurricane enters the Gulf of Mexico. If you don’t have any available and it’s expected to dip below freezing, wrap a towel around the faucets and use aluminum foil to hold the towel in place. If the temps are expected to remain below freezing for long periods of time, it is probably best to leave the faucet running so the pipes in the wall don’t freeze.
3. Have tarps available to cover any shrubs and trees that don’t handle cold weather well. This is especially true for north facing shrubs since they will not be shielded from the north winds when a cold front approaches. Avoid watering shrubs because the added weight of ice on the limbs can cause them to break.
4. Be sure that you have a warm place for your outside pets. Provide them with an outside shelter or have a place in the garage to keep them during the night when it gets below freezing.
5. Drip faucets. A slow drip from a faucet to two can keep pipes from freezing and can save costly repairs to your home.
6. Heat closed spaces where water pipes are located that tend to get real cold. For example, if you have a water heater located in the garage or attic, you may want to wrap the pipes and put a lamp next to the pipes to keep them from freezing. This is especially true with tank less water heaters since they do not produce heat unless heating water.
7. Empty containers that hold water. Containers like flower pots and buckets will quickly freeze if they have water in them and they will sometimes crack as the ice expands.
8. Turn off and drain sprinklers. Sprinkler systems can quickly turn into a mess if they are left turned on and contain water. You also don’t want them turning on when it’s freezing because they can create ice on side walks and driveways.
9. Winterize your boat motors, freshwater storage in RV’s and be sure your anti-freeze in your vehicles is at the proper level.
These are just a few things you can do to protect your home and personal property when the temperatures drop below freezing. Stay warm Pensacola!