Deep Freeze Home Preparation

Right now no one is thinking about the inevitable when it comes to winter weather in Chicago. Eventually the extreme cold will be forecasted to hit the area and there will be a deep freeze. It is important to know when temperatures go below freezing. There is a potential damage that can be done to your home. However, there are several things that a homeowner can do to be prepared for the deep freeze.

Check your heat and furnace:

Make sure to check the furnace before it gets too cold. It is fairly simple to check if it is working properly. Start by turning on the blower and furnace to make sure they operate as expected. Then check to make sure warm air is coming out of the vents properly. It is always important to ensure that you are changing your house filter every 30 day; a dirty filter can reduce air flow throughout a home by up to 50%.

The next step is the thermostat. Gerstad Builders homeowners are fortunate to have a SMART thermostat installed in their home. SMART thermostats, such as the nest thermostat, are capable of many things. Such as; learning your family’s schedule, temperature preferences and habits. Another benefit to a SMART thermostat, they are energy efficient so the energy companies give rebates to homeowners who have them installed. An advantage to owning a Gerstad home, they use two of the thermostats that make homeowners eligible for rebates, Nest and Honeywell. Thus, passing on the savings to their homeowners. Another tip is to not turn the heat below 65 degrees. This is recommended by manufacturers since the furnace as well as some other appliances have a computer board and to continue working properly.

Another great tip is to continue using your ceiling fan. They are not just useful in the summer. Have the blades turn clockwise to circulate warm air down from the ceiling to the rest of the room.

Pipe protection:

This is one of the most important steps in getting ready for a deep freeze. Since water expands when it freezes this can happen inside your pipes too. This can cause your pipes to crack and burst. If a pipe bursts this will cause extensive damage to your home.

For some homeowners, this can be a hassle involving foam protectors and installation. For Gerstad Builders homeowners, all you have to do is make sure all fittings are disconnected from your exterior hose connections and make sure your vents are open in your basement. Always keep your home at or above 65 Degrees and your pipes should be fine.

When moving into a new home, make sure to ask where the water shut off valve is located, typically it is in the basement. Going on vacation this winter, consider turning off your water
before you leave. The main water shut off is also important in the event of a major water leak. In case of an emergency, the water can be shut off.

Condensation and moisture:

During the Chicago winters, condensation and moisture forming on windows becomes an issue for most homeowners. How can this be prevented? There are some relatively easy fixes that can be done in your home to curb this problem. Start by making sure that all the vents are not covered up by furniture or other objects. You want air to flow properly and in the winter, heat will distribute more efficiently.

You should also turn your humidifier down to prevent condensation. The outside temperature will help you determine the setting for your humidifier. A dehumidifier in each room is a good solution too.

To learn more about condensation and moisture build up on the windows, click here to read the Alliance Window Systems information sheet on understanding condensation. The short explanation is that windows and energy conservation techniques in newer homes prevent thermal transfer to a greater degree than in older homes where windows and doors were key points of air infiltration. The result is the air in homes is warmer and wetter when it comes in contact with your new windows’ cold glass surface. Prescribing your home’s interior relative humidity to the outside air temperature is the best way to prevent condensations on your windows. Contact your Gerstad Builders Warranty Rep for information regarding relative interior humidity and outside air temperature.

Power outage prep:

There is always that possibility this could happen and every Chicago homeowner needs to be prepared. If your home is equipped with a fireplace, make sure you have wood already in the house and a lighter or matches easily accessible. Have warm clothes for each person so layers can be worn. The house will get extremely cold if the heat isn’t running so know where all the extra coats, gloves and scarves are located. A flashlight with extra batteries for each household member in order to get around the house without incident.

If you have a direct vent fireplace, another way to prepare is to remove the face grate of the fireplace and check the underside of the fireplace. There you should find an empty battery pack. Purchase either D, C, or AA batteries depending on your model and then review the owners guide to the fireplace. If you have lost or misplaced your manual you can review the owner’s manual on the heat-n-glows website. Direct vent fireplaces will run as long as your gas supply is uninterrupted, the batteries will be just to spark the flame. Do not leave batteries in the pack during normal operations. Do not touch the grate after the fireplace has been on for longer than 10 seconds or use thermally insulated gloves.

Food prep:

Having the right food in the house is also essential. If the power goes out, you don’t want to be opening and closing the refrigerator door and freezer. Fill your pantry with non-perishable food items. Canned fruit, breakfast cereal, crackers, snack bars, bread and peanut butter as examples of good food to have in the house.

Have a plan in place and make sure the whole family is aware of the plan. It is essential to keep you and your family safe by being prepared for a deep freeze that could potentially hit Chicago at any time during winter.

If you are interested in learning more about our many communities, click here to contact us or call at (815) 385-4495. We would be happy to help you find your forever home.

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