Even though we’ve had a surprisingly mild winter thus far, it’s still an important aspect of home ownership to winterize your home. As we know all too well, Atlantans never know when a late season ice or snow storm might head our way. Being prepared for winter’s wrath will prevent any costly and potentially damaging problems down the road. We spoke with our go-to plumber, Kevin Ferrier of Ferrier’s Plumbing about the best ways we can prepare our homes for winter. With his sage advice and our research, these tips will help you plan for finishing out the winter season on the right note.

Q: Where should you begin?

A: If there’s one thing to remember it’s to keep the cold out and the heat in. Start by checking your windows and doors to ensure seals and gaskets do not need to be replaced. Afterall, without a tight seal, you’re likely to have cold air creep in which besides being uncomfortable, will inevitably raise your heating bill. If you do discover a drafty room or door, add draft guards to keep cold air at bay. These can easily be found at your local hardware store.

Q: What are the most crucial items to address when winterizing a home?

A: Kevin says knowing where your water valve is can save you from a catastrophe. He explains, “Locate your main water valve in the event that you need to shut the water off in an emergency. Turn off all hose bib valves and open the hose bib outside to drain it.” Of course, exposed pipes are another crucial element for winterization. Insulate your pipes with with foam or tubular pipe insulation. This will protect them from harsh conditions and a potential disaster. Be sure to check around your air conditioning unit for pooling water that could freeze, and drain any excess water from your hoses, too. If you can, bring exterior hoses indoor for the winter.

Q: How can we prepare our thermostats or make the most use of our heating, especially when away?

A: We’ve recommended smart thermostats before, but the winter is one of the best times to finally make the small investment and the switch. Installation is simple and the peace of mind (and cost savings!) return can be huge. The programmable thermostats learn your habits over time and adjust your home accordingly. They can also put any vacation anxiety at ease while you’re away. Adjust the temperatures as needed to accomodate and combat freezing outdoor temperatures for indoor pipes.

Q: What do you get called to fix most often as related to winterizing?

A: Ironically, Kevin says the most problems occur when the seasons change. He says, “Spring comes back around and homeowners turn the main hose bib valve back on. The pipe is broken in the wall because they didn’t drain it prior to the freeze.” The time to correct any potential problems is now. Doing the leg work on the front end of the season will save you any headaches later.

Need even more tips? Head to the rest of the Wright-Clinkscales Team blog. We’re always looking to help you maintain your home for winter and beyond!