DIY Winter Tips
Is your home or business ready for the wrath of old man winter? Your pros at Crawl Space DIY have put together some simple DIY Winter Tips that will help to keep you warm, dry and safe all season long. Read through the details below and be sure to check out our helpful info-graphic
Leaks & Cracks:
One of the easiest problems to correct can also save you the most money. Small leaks and cracks, especially around windows, doors, electrical outlets and pipes let the cold winter air in and your warm heat out. Sealing these areas with spray foam and other insulation materials will stop drafts, make your home more energy efficient, and ultimately save you money. We recommend a product such as DOW Great Stuff Pro. This is a fantastic product that is cost effective and easy for any DIY’er to install themselves.
Many people that we talk to are unfamiliar with the term ice damming. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow (water) from draining off of the roof. When this occurs, major damage to the roof, gutters, attic and anything below on the ground is a real possibility. This is why we recommend that you clear your gutters to protect against ice damming and have proper insulation in the attic. This is a simple yet easily forgotten DIY Winter Tip.
Frozen Discharge Line Protection:
Have you experienced the pains of a frozen discharge line? Did the basement flood as a result? This is a big concern for those in colder climates with sump pumps and high water tables. As the temperatures drop below freezing, the risk of a frozen discharge line increases exponentially. If your discharge line is blocked, cracked or broken from the output at the house to where it dumps into a pop-up in the yard or releases into the street, the water is likely to freeze and then back up into your basement. When your sump pump has nowhere to deliver the water, the basin over-fills and your basement begins to flood. This is why we recommend that every home have a Freeze Relief kit installed on the sump pump discharge line. Installing a Freeze Relief automatically prevents discharge line back-up and guards your home against ice and flooding during the coldest winter weather. The Freeze Relief kit is actually very easy to install for DIY’ers, and if you have any questions, one of our experts would be happy to walk you through the steps.
Do you have an old thermostat in your home or business? If you do, you might want to consider a programmable thermostat like the Nest or even one of Honeywell’s offerings. There are so many options on the market that allow long term programming and can even be controlled from outside of the home. Reports indicate that if you follow their recommended program settings, you can save up to 10% on heating and cooling. Personally, I like the idea of the increased comfort by jumping on my cell phone and cranking up the heat before I leave work. This way the house is nice and toasty before I get home.
You should make a habit of checking your sump pump on a fairly regular basis. Being in this business, I check mine a few times a month if I haven’t heard it kicking on just to be safe. With the sump pump being the heart of your waterproofing system, you cannot be without one or the risk of your basement flooding is greatly increased. I keep a Wayne Waterbug on hand just in case there is an issue, and I also have a battery backup on my sump pump system. Did you know that the average life of a sump pump is 5 to 10 years? Several factors play into that numbers, and discharge cycles are one you should pay close attention to. If the sump pump fails, you will them be overwhelmed by flood cleanup costs, repair bills and the personal pain for any items that money cannot replace.
The winter months can be very hard on trees as the cold makes them brittle, and it is common to have ice and snow build-up that causes branches to snap or trees to be damaged. Walk the perimeter of your home or business to check for tree branches that could be a risk to your home or to power lines to prevent damage during storms.
Your basement and crawl space are two very easy places to begin a DIY Winter project. One of the biggest improvements you can make to your home is through crawl space encapsulation. When done properly and when using the appropriate products, you can improve the air you breathe, keep pests out, reduce concerns over water issues and improve energy efficiency. You can improve on the insulation properties by installing spray foam in the floor joists and a radiant barrier on the walls. Radiant barrier will help in the cold winter as well as the hot summer.
This DIY Winter Tip really ties into Frozen Discharge Line Protection and even Sump Pumps. If your street outlet is blocked by soil, weeds, ice or other debris, the water backs up in the PVC pipe and eventually into your basement if it doesn’t have anywhere else to go. If you have a high water table and an active sump pump as a result, you need to break the ice away at the street on a regular basis. In times of heavy snow, it is also a good idea to check the street outlet for the discharge line after a snow plow makes its way down your road. They commonly pack snow and ice into the discharge line which causes backup. Again, this increases the importance of having a Freeze Relief kit on the discharge line to reduce the risk of basement flooding.
We hope that you have enjoyed reading these DIY Winter Tips and find them helpful. If you have any questions on your projects or any products that we carry, please contact us and we will be happy to help you.