Frozen is great for Disney movies, not so great for the pipes in your home. As winter settles in Alberta, the risk of freezing pipes increases.


What makes frozen pipes dangerous? Think back to elementary school science class. When the temperature approaches zero, water freezes. And just before water freezes, it expands, putting pressure on a pipe and bursting it.

That could mean injury, property damage, and – if it’s not addressed quickly – black mold.

Remember to drain any outdoor faucets. It’s as easy as:

  1. Turn off the valve to outdoor water faucets
  2. Disconnect and drain your hoses
  3. Drain the outdoor faucet so there's no water left in the pipe

If you’re planning a getaway for more than four consecutive days during the regular heating season (months your furnace is on), keep these tips in mind:

  • Turn off your home’s main water valve and drain your pipes. Keep your thermostat set at 15 C or higher. This helps uninsulated pipes in an uninsulated space stay above freezing during a cold snap.
  • If you can’t drain your pipes, have a trusted friend or neighbour check your home every day and run water through the taps. If you don’t and damage happens from frozen plumbing, your insurance may not cover it.

Source: Alberta Motor Association

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  1. Change your light bulbs to LEDs.
  2. If possible, wash your clothes in cold water.
  3. Sealing cracks, gaps, leaks, and adding insulation can save up to 10% on home heating and cooling costs.
  4. Clean or replace all filters in your home regularly. Dirty filters make your system work harder and run longer than necessary.
  5. Use your microwave instead of your stove when cooking.
  6. To ensure your appliances are running efficiently, defrost your refrigerator and freezer before ice buildup becomes 1/4-inch thick.
  7. During warmer months, close blinds, shades and drapes on the sunny side of your home to help keep your home's temperature cooler and reduce the work for you AC. Open shades during cooler months to let the sun warm your home.
  8. Don't peek in the oven while baking! Every time you peek, the temperature can drop 25 F, making your oven use more energy to bring the temperature back up.
  9. Use natural light when possible.
  10. Control your fixtures with a photocell or a timer to assure dusk-to-dawn only operation of your outdoor lights.
  11. Don't leave your computer on all day long. Only turn on your computer, monitor, printer and fax machine when you need them.
  12. Set your thermostat to 78F in the summer and 68F in the winter - every degree of extra heating or cooling will increase energy usage 6% to 8%. Setting your thermostat to a lower temperature than normal will not cool your home faster.
  13. Using your ceiling fan will allow you to raise the thermostat setting about 4°F with no reduction in comfort.
  14. Refrigerators and freezers actually operate most efficiently when full, so keep your refrigerator and freezer as full as possible (using water bottles if nothing else). Be careful about overfilling them as this will reduce airflow and cause the appliance to work harder.
  15. Using dishwashers and clothes washers/dryers at night will keep the house cooler, reduce strain on the power grid during the peak usage hours of 4 PM and 6 PM and reduce the chance of an emergency!
  16. Turn off heated dry on your dishwasher and air dry instead.
  17. Set your refrigerator temperature to the manufacturer's recommendation to avoid excessive cooling and wasting energy.
  18. Don't leave bathroom or kitchen ventilation fans running longer than necessary. They replace inside air with outside.
  19. If your home has single-pane windows, consider replacing them with more energy efficient windows, or adding solar shades or tinting film.
  20. Adjust the thermostat only to the desired temperature. Your home won't heat or cool faster by cranking it up.
  21. Install a programmable thermostat that will automatically adjust the temperature according to your schedule.
  22. Turn off the lights when they're not in use. Lighting accounts for about 12% of a typical residential utility bill.
  23. Don't leave your mobile phone plugged in overnight. It only takes a couple of hours to charge.
  24. Turn off the oven a few minutes before cooking time runs out. Your food will continue to cook without using the extra electricity.
  25. Avoid placing appliances that give off heat, such as lamps or TVs, near a thermostat.
Source: Direct Energy Alberta
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Indoor

We spend a lot more time indoors during the winter season, especially when the chill becomes unbearable. Make your home more comfortable and safe with the following winter-prep tips:


 Inspect doors and windows for cracks/drafts; use caulking and weather stripping to seal any gaps

 Clean or replace furnace fi lters

 Get a furnace tuneup by a qualifi ed HVAC technician

 Inspect for and clean out debris and residue from fi replace/chimney

 Test smoke alarms. Batteries should be replaced bi-annually (ideally when the clocks change for DST and ST)

 Test carbon monoxide detectors - replace batteries annually

 Switch the ceiling fan rotation clockwise to blow warm air down

 Clean home humidifiers

 Check the attic, basement and crawl spaces for proper air ventilation and insulation

 Replace an older thermostat with a programmable unit to save money on heating costs

 Assemble an emergency preparedness kit for your home and vehicle


Outdoor

Your home’s exterior will endure the brunt of winter, so protecting the outside structure, lawn and outdoor equipment is crucial for proper winterization.

 Turn off exterior faucets and irrigation systems (outdoor pipes, sprinkler heads, etc.)

 Detach, drain and store hoses

 Insulate faucets/pipes

 Clean and remove debris from eavestroughs and gutter downspouts

 Ensure downspouts extend away from the house to prevent fl ooding and water damage

 Trim branches away from your home and power lines

 Clean up garden beds and wrap shrubs

 Inspect roof and replace missing or damaged shingles

 Clean the garage to store your car and winter equipment and tools

 Ensure winter tools are ready for use (snow blower, ice chopper, shovels, etc.)

 Stock up on sand, kitty litter, calcium chloride or other ice-melting materials to make walkways, steps and driveways safe


credit: directenergy.ca

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Data is deemed reliable but is not guaranteed accurate by the REALTORS® Association of Edmonton.