January is here and along with it are frigid temps and wind chills that make you want to stay inside. At Home Inspector Albuquerque we are often asked of certain methods or best practices that we home inspectors might recommend to either help ward off freezing cold air intrusion into the interior or what can be done to help insulate exposed pipes in crawlspaces.
Every home is unique in it’s construction and the materials that were used to build it. In older homes that were built over crawlspaces often we will find the exposed pipe plumbing attached underneath the floor to the floor boards and floor joists. Most of the time the plumbing has not been insulated properly and while performing the home inspection we usually can identify where a past leak has been repaired. Home inspectors often discover active pin hole leaks in older plumbing materials that a home owner is not even aware of. Typically leaks occur at the fittings and can further damage other parts of the system. Unfinished crawlspaces are vulnerable areas as they stay cool or cold for most of the day. If the pipes are not outfitted with proper pipe rated foam insulation they can easily be compromised by the freezing temperatures and burst. Home Inspector Albuquerque highly encourages having a crawlspace home inspection performed annually to help maintain and be aware of any threatening conditions that may exist. Colder temperatures also force wildlife to search out areas to get out of the elements. Crawlspaces offer that protection if the critters can find there way in.
Home Inspectors in Albuquerque want you to know where your main water shut off valve is, or how to shut it off at the meter. In case of an emergency you will need to have this knowledge to help protect your house from being flooded should the unfortunate thing of a pipe bursting happen to you. If the valve is rusted and stuck in the open position then replace the valve immediately. During colder months some rooms in a home may be shielded from receiving warmer conditioned air flow. During home inspections one room in particular home inspectors often see that is left vulnerable is the laundry room. This room is often located next to the garage entry where typically it is colder than the rest of the house. Many homes do not have a source of heat in these laundry rooms other than when either the dryer is in operation or when the door is left open to receive the ambient air being circulated throughout the house. I have seen several pipes burst in the laundry room most often in vacant houses where the laundry room has been cutoff from receiving the warm ambient recirculated air.
At home inspector Albuquerque we want you to know that If you have any indoor faucets that are located on exterior walls that are not properly insulated a quick solution is to allow for a slow drip at the faucet. Also leave the vanity cabinet doors open to allow for the warm ambient air to circulate inside that space. Taking these steps will help to protect the pipes from bursting when freezing temperatures are around for a long duration of time.
To help keep your outdoor water spigot fixtures from freezing always detach the garden hose and cover and insulate the hose bibs. If you have the capability by design to shut off the water to theses fixtures that would be a great step to take as well.
It is always recommended by home inspectors that homeowners maximize their home’s insulation in the areas that can be accessed and could benefit from more insulation. Adding additional batts in between the rafters can help to further insulate. Making sure that there is proper ventilation in the attic space will also help to keep ice from building up on the exterior roof covering and or the gutter systems. Keep the gable vents clear will help to achieve maximum ventilation.
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