Though we don’t experience the same frigid winter weather in Phoenix that people do in other parts of the country, freezing temperatures can still occur. We typically only think in terms of how to keep our houses cooler and efficient in the scorching summer months. So, we don’t often anticipate the issues that can arise around our house when the temperatures plummet. That’s why we wanted to give you six ways you can make sure your house is prepared for the cold winter temperatures when they do arrive to the valley.
Weather Stripping Around Doors
One area where we can lose energy efficiency in our homes is around external doors and windows. When the seals are worn down or torn from wear, outside air comes in and inside air leaks out. In the summertime, it causes our air conditioners to work harder to achieve a comfortable internal temperature. In the winter months, cold air seeps in around the door or window, causing us to run our heaters more. The more we have to run our heaters, the more costly our utility bills become. So, be sure the weather stripping around your external doors and windows are properly installed and sealed. If you see any daylight coming in around your doors, that’s a telltale sign you need to replace or beef up your insulation around that external door.
Insulate Outside Exposed Pipes
One of the most unanticipated issues that can arise when subzero temperatures occur is any exposed water pipes freezing and bursting. Frozen pipes can lead to very costly repairs. One inexpensive step you can take to protect your pipes from the cold weather is head to the hardware store and pick up insulation for your pipes. You can wrap them around your pipes and then use zip ties or tape to securely fasten them around your water pipes, helping to prevent their freezing when those temperatures plummet. When you anticipate the temperatures dropping below zero, you can also wrap towels around them for added measure, helping shield them from the cold.
Insulate Garage Door Panels
Another way to help prepare your home for the cold winter weather is to install insulation panels on the backside of your garage door. Having the extra barrier of insulation will help insulate the metal, serving to keep your garage itself warmer. In the summer months, these insulation panels will achieve the opposite effect, but have equal impact, when the metal garage doors transfer heat, driving up the internal temperature inside the garage.
Add Thermal Curtains/Drapes
When many people think about black out or insulating curtains, they think in terms of helping keep sunlight out of the room when someone is sleeping. Many black out curtains also contain an insulating panel in them, serving to prevent any cold air that may be coming in around the window from extending into the room, too. In summer months, thermal curtains can keep out the early rising sun and extreme heat. In the winter months, they can help lower your utility bill, keeping your rooms cozy and warm.
Wrap Hot Water Heater
Most homes in Arizona have the hot water heater located in the garage. As mentioned above, cold outside air is transferred easily into the garage through the metal garage doors. So, as temperatures inside our garage drops, our hot water heaters are working harder to keep the water within them hot. To save money on utilities, you can purchase hot water heater insulation from the local hardware store, wrapping it around your hot water heater. This step will serve as a buffer between the cold air and the water you’re paying to have hot when you need it. It will also ensure you’re not paying to heat water all hours or the day and night when you may only need it a couple of times during that day.
Check Attic Insulation
One additional way you can be sure your home is properly insulated is to check your attic insulation to make sure there is enough installed to adequately prevent the attic temperature from impacting the temperature inside your home. According to www.energy.gov, your attic should have 11 inches of fiberglass or rock wool insulation and at least 8 inches of cellulose.
Helping to ensure your home is properly protected against the cold weather will not only give you peace of mind against any unwanted emergency repairs, it will also help ensure you’re cozy and warm when the really cold weather makes its way into the valley.