Winter isn’t far away and we've researched many important items you should prepare your house for the possibility for frozen weather.
Turn Off Exterior Faucets: Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than 10 to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
Buy a Generator and Transfer Switch Kit: Buy a generator now before the weather gets horrible, because they will be all sold out when the weather does turn bad. Be prepared. A Transfer Switch is an electrical switch that switches a load between two sources. Some transfer switches are manual, in that an operator effects the transfer by throwing a switch and getting power from the portable generator, while others are automatic and switch when they sense one of the sources has lost or gained power. The manual kind depending on what wattage of generator you buy (and watts are dependent on how many items you want running in the house, for example the refrigerator, lights, television, computer, internet, A/C (if freak summer storm blows through), etc.) can run anywhere between $400 – $1,000 for the generator and transfer switch is between $385 and $500. The install the switch to the fuse box, you can either do it yourself if you have electrical knowledge or hire an electrician to do it at about $500 – $1,000.
Call a Chimney Sweep: Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home. You can expect to pay $50 to $90 for an inspection to see if you need a cleaning, and $100 to $300 for the cleaning.
Trim Trees and Branches: It’s now time to survey your property for any tree limbs that are hanging over power lines or trees leaning too close to power lines. Once ice incrusts a limb, the ice gets too heavy for the limb and will break off and it’s a real possibility that it will take out the power line and throw an entire block into the dark. Just like last year where we had four to five brutality cold days in the dark and many of us were either trapped in our homes or took up residence in area hotels. All of this can be costly, from hotel stays to throwing away hundreds of dollars in food. Please check your trees and limbs and have a licensed tree trimmer come to your house and help decide which limbs should be cut down – DO NOT CUT DOWN LIMBS/TREES NEAR LIVE WIRES ON YOUR OWN.
Primary wires Are usually located at the top of a electricity pole, and can serve hundreds of customers and carry 4,000 to 35,000 volts of electricity.
Secondary wires Are located just beneath primary wires and sometimes strung in groups of twos, threes or fours, carry lower voltage—usually 240 volts—to fewer customers. Not all branches near these wires need to be removed. Only qualified personnel can prune trees near these wires.
Pole-to-house linesThese lines have the least impact on large-scale power outages.