Florida winters aren't anything like Midwestern weather. There aren't heaps of snow on the ground, icicles on the rooftops and black ice on the streets. However, despite what most people think, Florida does, in fact, have a winter. Though the temperatures almost never reach freezing (only three times since 1973), there can still be heavy rain and ferocious winds.
That means Florida natives must protect their homes just as residents of any other state would. Here are some ways to winterize your plumbing and protect your Clearwater, Florida, home during winter.
Seal your doors and windows
Although most days do not fall below 40 degrees, you should still take precautions. The last thing you want is wind to come howling into your bedroom window each night. Make sure the inside of your home stays as warm as possible. Make this happen by sealing all your home's openings, like windows and doors. Adding adhesive foam or using weather stripping materials are two easy ways to get this done.
If you're not sure if your doors are letting cool air in, there are some simple ways to check it yourself. For example, to see how tight a door is, shut it on a piece of paper. If you can pull the sheet out without tearing it, you should look into more airtight methods because it's letting in too much cold air.
Bring in outdoor furniture
Odds are your backyard won't look like a winter wonderland anytime soon. And yet, you're going to want to protect your outdoor decor and furniture any way you can. Umbrellas should be closed and stored away on windy days so they don't blow away or damage anything. If you have any water fixtures, like bird baths or water fountains, make sure to put them in the garage or a shed for the winter. If a freak winter storm does arrive, the cold can crack and damage fixtures, especially if they're still filled with water.
Protect your pipes
Since we rarely have to worry about freezing temperatures in Clearwater, our building codes don’t require as much protective insulation as colder cities. Additionally, our frost line isn’t very deep so our water supply pipes and sewer pipes don’t have to be buried very deep underground. What that does mean, however, is that when a rare winter storm does hit our area, it tends to freeze an awful lot of pipes! Despite what the usual temperature is like outside, it's a good rule of thumb to make sure your pipes are insulated just in case. If you live in an older or remodeled home, there's a big chance some of your pipes are exposed to cold air. Luckily, insulating them is fairly easy. Just pick up pink insulation from your local hardware store to cut and fit around your pipes or purchase foam pipe insulation sleeves, cut them to the right length with a scissors and slip them over exposed pipes. This can help prevent frozen pipes.
For pipes that are underneath kitchen sinks or in cabinets, be sure to open the doors once in a while. That will allow your home's hot air to circulate, which lessens your chances of the cold air affecting the water flow.
Let your faucets drip
If a winter storm does surprise our city, it's a good practice to let your faucets drip if the temperature slips below freezing. When Clearwater was hit with freezing temperatures in 2006 and 1996, pipes froze and plumbers were busy for days repairing the damage. Don’t take our lovely tropical weather patterns for granted in the age of climate change. Take the necessary precautions and do your best to winterize your plumbing to help prevent frozen pipes. It’s simple and is cost effective.
"Contrary to popular belief, people living in Florida do have to use their heat during winter."
Check your heat
Contrary to popular belief, people living in Florida do have to use their heat during winter. And maybe we use it more often than our northern neighbors because we’re more sensitive to the cold. Gone are the days of open windows and refreshing breezes. Rain and heavy winds can result in a chilly and damaged home. That said, you're going to need a heating system that works properly. Keeping your home at warm temperatures also helps decrease your chances of running into issues with your pipes. Have your thermostat set at a warm temperature during the winter. In addition, check to see that all your vents are working, and no furniture is blocking them. Make sure all of the hot air circulates around your home and change the furnace filter on the first day of every month.
Roto-Rooter is proud to provide you with these useful tip to help winterize your plumbing for your home. If these tips aren’t enough the call 727-581-6610 today to make an appointment with one of our experienced Clearwater, FL plumbing professionals. We are always ready to help our customers with all of their plumbing and drain service needs.
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