Tips to prepare your home for the incoming colder temperatures

Updated: Dec. 7, 2016 at 6:56 PM CST
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MONTGOMERY, AL (WSFA) - As the cold air approaches, experts say now is the time to get your home ready. We've seen freezing temperatures so far this year but not where we'll be this weekend. You'll need to take action to protect your pets, your plants, and your pipes.

"Friday, for sure, we'll be busy, we'll be busy some on Saturday, and then I'm sure Monday there will be a lot of phone calls," said Charlie Edwards, vice president of Edwards Plumbing and Heating.

Edwards says his company is gearing up for a busy season.

He says with the cold weather approaching, you should do some simple steps to prevent from having to call the experts to fix something disastrous, like burst pipes.

We've all heard it before, but he says it's imperative to cover your outdoor faucets. A relatively inexpensive faucet cover, or even a towel with some duct tape, will do the trick.

"It's important because it doesn't take [much]. If the wind is blowing a certain direction or if the wind is blowing with the colder temperatures, that can definitely cause some freezing," said Edwards. "Once it freezes, there's not a lot that you can do about it. You have to just wait for it to thaw out. Hopefully, if it just freezes, minor freeze and not a major freeze, it won't contract and bust the pipes. If it does thaw out and you see some dripping, you want to make sure to go out to the street and turn the meter off as quickly as possible because it will cause a lot of damage."

As the temperature outside drops, you'll want to raise the temp inside to stay warm. Before you crank up the heat, Edwards says if your furnace is older than two years, you need to get it checked out by a licensed contractor.

"You want to make sure there are no cracks in the heat exchanger, which could lead to carbon monoxide poisoning into the home. [You also] want to make sure the safety limit switches are properly operating on the furnace, want to make sure the gas valve is opening and closing as it's designed to do, and make sure combustion air feeding the furnace is getting fed and is allowing for proper ignition and combustion," advises Edwards.

As simple as it seems, he says it could very well save a life.

"You could have a crack in your furnace, in your heat exchanger, and it could leak gas into the home and you would never know about it unless you have a carbon monoxide alarm to go off. You hear stories of it all the time, at least in the winter, where there was a crack, people go to sleep and unfortunately they don't ever wake back up again," explains Edwards.

Besides having a smoke alarm, you should also have a carbon monoxide alarm. Edwards suggests putting it close to the furnace or the return air grill, so if gas is leaking it can be picked up in the air stream.

This is also a good time to check on elderly family and neighbors to make sure they have ways to stay warm. The Salvation Army in Montgomery also has a shelter available.

Copyright 2016 WSFA 12 News. All rights reserved.