Even though Atlanta is popular for its blistering summers, winter in Atlanta can bring cold temperatures, ice, and snow, which can be dangerous for both your home and your family. Here are some things you can do to prepare your home for severe winter weather in Atlanta:
1. Properly Insulate Your Home
Proper insulation can help keep your home warm and reduce energy costs by keeping the cold air out and trapping the treasured heat inside where it is needed. Make sure to insulate your attic, walls, and crawl spaces to keep the cold out (Energy.gov, 2021). Properly insulating your attic, walls, and crawl spaces can help to keep your home warm in the winter by reducing heat loss and increasing the efficiency of your heating system. This can save you money on your energy bills and make your home more comfortable during the colder months.
2. Seal any Drafts
Weatherstripping and caulking are two methods that can be used to seal drafts and prevent cold air from entering a building through gaps or openings around doors, windows, and other openings. Weatherstripping involves the use of materials such as foam tape or rubber strips that can be applied to the edges of doors and windows to create a seal and prevent air from entering or escaping. Caulking involves the use of a sealant, such as silicone or polyurethane, that is applied to gaps or cracks to fill them and create a seal. Both weatherstripping and caulking can be effective at reducing energy loss and improving the overall energy efficiency of a building. It is important to regularly check for drafts and seal them as needed to maintain the energy efficiency of a home or building. (Energy.gov, 2021).
3. Protect Your Pipes
Frozen pipes can be a serious problem, as the water inside the pipes can expand as it freezes, causing the pipes to burst. This can lead to significant water damage in a home or building. To prevent pipes from freezing, it is important to properly insulate them. This can be done by wrapping the pipes with insulation material or using heat tape or heating pads to keep the pipes warm. It is also a good idea to leave the faucets dripping slightly, as the movement of the water can help prevent the pipes from freezing. If you are concerned about the possibility of your pipes freezing, you can also take additional precautions, such as leaving the cabinets under sinks open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes, or keeping the thermostat set to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit (12.8 degrees Celsius) when you are away from home. (Ready.gov, 2021).
4. Stock up on Supplies
It’s always a good idea to have emergency supplies on hand in case of a winter storm. Make sure you have plenty of non-perishable food, bottled water, blankets, and other essentials (Ready.gov, 2021).
5. Keep Your Heating System in Good Working Order
Have your furnace or heating system inspected and serviced by a professional before winter. This will help ensure that it is working properly and efficiently (Energy.gov, 2021).
6. Clear Your Gutters
Falling snow and ice can weigh down your gutters and cause them to collapse. Be sure to clear your gutters of leaves, twigs, and other debris before winter to prevent this from happening (Energy.gov, 2021).
7. Protect Your Plants
Cold temperatures and ice can be harmful to your plants. Consider covering your plants with blankets or moving them indoors if possible (Energy.gov, 2021).
8. Cover Outdoor Spigots
Spigots, or outdoor faucets, are often exposed to freezing temperatures and can be vulnerable to icing up, which can lead to burst pipes and water damage. To protect spigots from icing up, it is a good idea to use insulated covers, which can be purchased at hardware stores for a relatively low cost.
9. Easily Access the Water Shutoff
The location of the water shutoff false is an important part of living in a home. If a water pipe in the home bursts, it is important to shut off the water supply as quickly as possible to minimize damage. To ensure that you can easily access the water shut-off valve in the event of a burst pipe, it is a good idea to make sure that there are no obstacles in the way. This may involve clearing clutter or other objects that could block access to the valve. It is also a good idea to locate the valve in advance so that you know where it is and how to operate it in an emergency.
10. Keeping the Garage Door Closed or Sealed
Keeping the garage door closed or sealed during cold weather can help to prevent cold air from entering the home through the garage and can help to protect vehicles and other items stored in the garage from the cold. It is also important to ensure that the garage door is properly sealed and insulated to further reduce the flow of cold air into the garage and home.
In addition to these precautions, it’s also important to be prepared in case the power goes out during a winter storm. Here are some items homeowners should consider having on hand:
1. Flashlights and Extra Batteries
Keep a supply of flashlights and extra batteries in an easy-to-reach place, in case the power goes out (Ready.gov, 2021).
2. A Portable Phone Charger
Make sure you have a portable phone charger or backup battery pack in case you need to charge your phone during a power outage (Ready.gov, 2021).
3. A Backup Heating Source
If the power goes out, you’ll need an alternate way to stay warm. Consider investing in a portable heater or fireplace, or having a supply of blankets and warm clothing (Ready.gov, 2021).
4. Candles and Matches
In case of a power outage, candles can provide some light and warmth. Just be sure to use them safely and never leave them unattended (Ready.gov, 2021).
5. A Generator
If you live in an area prone to power outages, it may be worth investing in a generator. This can provide power to essential items like your fridge, lights, and heating system during a power outage (Ready.gov, 2021).
6. A First aid Kit
It’s always a good idea to have a first aid kit on hand, in case of any accidents or injuries (Ready.gov, 2021).
7. Non-Perishable Food and Water
Keep a supply of non-perishable food and bottled water in case you’re unable to go to the store during a power outage (Ready.gov, 2021).
By taking these precautions, you can help protect your home and family from the harsh winter weather that Atlanta can experience.
Energy.gov. (2021). Winterization Tips for Your Home. Retrieved from https://www.energy.gov/articles/winterization-tips-your-home
Ready.gov. (2021). Winter Storms. Retrieved from https://www.ready.gov/winter-storms
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