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Four tips for winter protection

Yes, we know winter doesn’t officially begin until later this month. But as the days and nights continue to get colder, “official” doesn’t really matter—when the temperatures drop, you need to protect your home to avoid emergency plumbing, electrical, or other problems.

At Patriot, we’re always ready to help when you need it, but we’d rather help you avoid big emergencies in the first place. So here are four things to do right now, before things really freeze over here in the valley!

If you haven’t already, turn on your heat tape and disconnect your hoses. And next year, set a reminder in your calendar to do it earlier! If you don’t have heat tape for unprotected pipes in areas of your home that are unheated, such as your garage, attic, and crawlspace, consider installing some. It’s a fairly inexpensive solution that can prevent a much bigger problem. (Keep in mind that if your pipes are made of plastic, very hot tape could damage them, so use tape that has automatic temperature control.) We don’t always have winter nights that are cold enough to freeze pipes, but you don’t want to get a nasty surprise when we do! 

Don’t let the critters in. Everybody is looking to stay warm these days—and that includes mice and other rodents. They can squeeze through smaller spaces than you probably realize, so make sure to seal up any gaps around your home with caulking and steel wool. Why steel wool? Mice aren’t able to chew through it the way they can chew through other materials such as the expanding foam you spray from a can. (Note: They can chew through the wiring in your home, too, which is another reason to keep them out.) It’s also a good idea to keep pet food sealed in airtight plastic containers, and to keep a few traps on hand just in case.

Clean your dryer vent. This won’t prevent an electrical or plumbing emergency, but it can prevent something even worse: a fire in your home. Check the back of your dryer and see flexible ducting running from the appliance to the wall—this is the where the dryer exhaust vents, and if you don’t clean it, lint can build up and eventually ignite. (We should point out that this is not the lint trap, which is the screen you pull out and clean before or after each dryer load.) Disconnect the ducting, vacuum or brush it out until it’s clear, and be sure to check the connection to the actual vent outside as well.

Think about what’s in your air. Of course, a lot of people are thinking about what they’re breathing in these days—and an air-purification system (or at least upgraded air filters) could have big benefits for everyone in the family. We can’t make any guarantees regarding a certain virus, but we can say that some of the same advanced technology that is used to filter the air in hospitals and elsewhere is also available for home use. If you’d like to learn more, give us a call! 

Our experts can help you with any of these preventive tasks, along with many others throughout the year. Just get in touch today at 509-662-6262 to talk about your options—trust us, it’s a lot better than having to call after that pipe bursts!