Merry Christmas, Utah Valley Moms! Before we get into our content for this blog post, we wanted to first make you all aware of our December giveaway for a $25 gift card of your choice. All you have to do is “like” our Facebook page and invite your friends to like our page as well. We will pick one random new follower on December 20, 2013 and whoever invited them wins the gift card!

Here at Centurion Homes, we get all sorts of questions from readers and clients about what should be done around the home to beat cold temperatures. Now that we’ve got a nice thick layer of snow and temperatures below 20° F, here are some tips to consider for keeping your home in good shape to survive the cold this winter:

1.  Prevent frozen pipes.
Pipes most commonly freeze when temperatures reach below 20 ° F, so give some extra attention to your pipes in December and January. When temperatures are going to be especially low, turn your faucets to a slight but steady drip. This keeps water moving through your pipes and prevents it from freezing. If you’re leaving on a trip this holiday season, don’t set your thermostat to anything lower than 55° F. Remember, just because your thermostat is set to 55° F not all parts of the home will be that warm. A 55° F degree setting is low enough that you will save a decent amount of utility while away but still ensure that the entirety of the home remains above the freezing point. For some more basic information, read our blog post with frozen pipe FAQ’s here.

2.  Examine exterior doors & windows.
Take a few minutes to examine the weatherstripping on your windows and exterior doors. Is it worn out or cracked? Having poor weatherstripping can let in a constant stream of cold air, which will cause you to turn up your thermostat, making your bills more expensive. This Old House has put together a really helpful guide with instructions on how to replace bad weatherstripping–click here to read it.

3.  Change your furnace filter.
Changing your furnace filter is essential to keeping your furnace running properly. Furnace filters are cheap—about $5.00 at your local grocery store—so changing them regularly is a simple task. 30-day filters will allow for the best air flow in your home, but many people prefer the 90 day filters because they only have to change them four times a year. Changing your filter on time in the winter is especially important because it will keep your heating bills low. If you’re not comfortable changing your furnace filter, give us a call today and we can help you.

4.  Prevent ice dams.
Ice dams occur when ice accumulates on a sloped roof, usually at the gutter. This generally happens when interior heat travels through a roof and melts snow and ice on the roof, and then refreezes once the ice reaches the roof’s edge where temperatures are colder. To prevent this from happening, keep your attic well ventilated and keep your attic floor well insulated. This will prevent snow from melting and refreezing as much on your roof. If you do have a large ice dam form, a quick fix is to fill an old pair of pantyhose with calcium chloride ice melter. Lay the hose on the roof so that it hangs over the gutter. This will melt the ice off of your roof. For a more permanent solution, contact a professional like Centurion Homes to install better insulation or create better ventilation in your attic.

Ice dams can cause major problems for homes if they aren’t melted.

5.  Service your furnace.
Utah has a system for helping homeowners know if their furnace is running properly by way of a tune-up practice called “green tagging”. Certified contractors, such as Centurion Homes, will come out to your home and examine your furnace to see if it has been properly adjusted to burn the correct amount of gas. Usually this process will cost you about $95.00. Many furnaces burn too little gas and others spill over with too much gas—but you’ll never know until you have your furnace examined. Different altitudes require different levels of gas burning. This is virtually never done by the installing technician, even in new homes. Most furnaces are functioning well outside of optimum performance until this is done as they are mostly brought in from California and are factory tuned to sea level specs. To read more about green tagging, click here or give Centurion Homes a call today at 801-805-0177.