Winterizing when time is short

A customer looks through weather stripping at Westlake Ace Hardware in Jefferson City Thursday.

One hardware store manager told KRCG 13 the arrival of Thursday's winter storms did not mean it was too late to winterize homes.

Jason Barton, a floor manager at Westlake Ace Hardware, said a home's weak spots for heat loss are its doors and windows. He said off-the-shelf treatments like weather stripping and window film can address most of these problems.

"Put weather stripping around the doors. It's something quick you can do. Just grab a roll, slap it on the doors and windows, and you're done." he said.

Barton said several types of weather stripping are available, each with its own advantages. Rubber weather stripping is more durable and seals well. Foam works well on small, uneven gaps. Sponge rubber does not compress as much as foam but seals better. He said these differences are minimal and any material will work. As for windows, Barton said applying a layer of film can help reduce heat loss through single-pane glass.

Freezing water pipes are a major problem in severe cold and Barton said the best way to protect one is to run a heating cable along the bottom of the pipe and then wrap it in insulation. He said outside water pipes are generally the only ones that need protection. Pipes in a basement can be left alone as long as the basement's temperature stays above 32 degrees. If pipes do freeze, Barton said to avoid using too much heat.

"I don't know if I'd just blast it with heat because you do have solder joints and things like that in there," he said. "I'd probably do it fairly slowly, but if you don't get it in time, it's going to expand and pop your pipes, so you don't want to be too slow about it either."