The blowing wind outside wakes you up, you contemplate the possible MPH based on the sounds of the blasts, and then remember it’s been single digit temps for days now. Several thoughts race through your head; is the garage closed, what about the fireplace flu, is there snow and cold air coming through the doggie door, I hope that I don’t have any frozen pipes, and I hope the heater doesn’t quit. The wind chill has a key influence when it comes to stress on your home. Yes it has been cold for days, yes we have had snow, but the wind chill will expose any vulnerability that there may be in your home.
Strong winds force air into the home and into places that cold air normally won’t reach. Improperly insulated areas and access points to the outside are trouble spots where frozen pipes can occur. Check any areas of your home where water pipes are on an exterior wall, places where any pipes are near holes where other utilities enter your home, and any cracks in the foundation or basement. Does your home have any exposed plumbing in your attic or crawl space, or do you have a sink in your unheated garage, these would be major causes for concern as the temperature drops. Providing heat to these areas and leaving a faucet on a slow trickle are best bets for avoiding frozen pipes.
The cold and wind assault your home on multiple levels. Excessive wind chills will cause your furnace to experience excessive run times, and any components that may be compromised will be put to their test. Restricted air flow is a primary nemesis of your furnace, it causes increased stress on the furnaces mechanicals, and most systems have safety sensors that will shut the furnace down in cases of poor air flow to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning or critical damage to the furnace. Preventative measures can be taken. Make sure that your filter is clean, and check all vents and returns to make sure that air can flow freely.
Don’t stay up all night worrying, small preventative measures can make big differences. Knowing areas that may need monitoring, and periodic checks on those spots can put your mind at ease and help you realize a problem before it gets out of control.
Written by Eric Rickert