Aluminum air pipes

Preparing houses for winter: pipes and heating units

KNOXVILLE, Tennessee (WATE) – After a warmer than usual December, experts say now is the time to protect your home from harsh winter weather, before it’s too late. Before temperatures among teens set in later in the week, now is the time to make sure your home’s heating is working safely.


Jason Charkosky, owner of JC’s Heating and Air, said it was a busy time of year, simply because people find out too late when their heating is off.

“You’re going to be working harder of course when it gets down to 30, 32 degrees or something like that. So you know, and it’s just not used to working that much, ”Charkosky said.

Charkosky said that in eastern Tennessee, his business typically receives calls for gas systems or heat pumps, but mostly gas systems. He said people need to be careful with gas systems because if they are on when they are broken it could be dangerous.

“Someone’s heat continues to go out. You need to check this for any kind of cracks or holes in the heat exchanger as it could definitely be poisoning. Carbon monoxide poisoning, ”Charkosky said.

He said before sub-freezing temperatures set in, people need to change their air filters, check thermostat batteries and call a professional if the heat is on but not working. The pipes are also another important item to check before the cold.


“So the worst things we see happen during a cold snap or severe frost is when someone has plumbing, a significant amount of plumbing in their attic, or a very poorly insulated crawl space,” Kelton Balka, master plumber at Tennessee Standard Plumbing and Drain Experts, said.

He said the most common call they get after the onset of winter is that water isn’t coming out of the sinks. To avoid this, Balka said to first make sure the garden hoses are removed from the faucets, and then cover the faucets with insulation.

“They have water at the back of them, that wind blows over there, they can really turn the temperature down, and if the water freezes, all it takes is a little ice for ‘poof’. , blow a pipe on the right, “said Balka.

Next, check the house for any exposed pipes. Balka said he usually finds them in the attic or crawl space. He said the insulation is not enough to keep these exposed pipes warm.

“If you’ve got this pipe exposed outside or in your attic, or somewhere you know it’s likely to freeze, put heat tape on it. You can get it at any local home service store. Put the heating tape on it, wrap it in insulation, tape it real good and it gives you the best shot to avoid having a burst pipe and flooding in your house, ”Balka said.

Another safety precaution to take is to let faucets closest to the outside or exposed pipes drip with hot water the night before a freeze-up.

He said running water can’t freeze, or at least not fast enough to cause damage, and running water is better than a flooded house. Watch out for signs of a frozen or burst pipe. Balka said a quick reaction to either could be the difference between a flood or a squirt.

“The water doesn’t come out fast enough, or it’s intermittent, or there’s air in it. When, when things thaw out and you feel like you may have been damaged, shut off your whole house, turn off the water to your house and call a professional, ”Balka said.

Balka said another time to give them a call is when you know you won’t be home during a frost and the heat won’t have been on. Its teams can enter, empty the pipes and pump them with a winterizing solution to prevent them from freezing.