By Annette S. Colby
While you can’t change the weather, you can minimize some of the extreme cold’s biggest threats to your home. Here is a list of helpful reminders about how to keep your home warm and safe in extreme cold weather:
Things To Do Before a Freeze
Turn off sprinkler system.
Wrap all exposed pipes outside or in unheated areas of your home.
If you have pipes along an exterior wall that are in a cabinet, open the cabinet door.
Disconnect and drain garden hoses from outside faucets.
Insulate faucets with Styrofoam covers or wrap tightly with old rags.
Know where the main water shut off valve is and have the shut-off key handy in case a pipe bursts.
Things to Do During Sub-Freezing Temperatures
Allow water to drip slowly from inside faucets during a freeze.
Open cabinet doors under sinks to expose pipes running along outside walls.
Close garage doors.
Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath.
Things to Do if You Encounter a Frozen Pipe
Apply heat to the affected area using an electric hair dryer, an electric heating pad, heat lamp, or electric heat tape around the pipes.
Do not use a torch or any type of open flame to thaw frozen pipes.
Keep the faucet open, running water through the pipe will help melt the ice.
If you have a frozen and burst pipe, you may not know it until the pipe thaws out. Pay attention as the temperatures climb above freezing.
What to Do if a Frozen Pipe Bursts
Find the house shut-off valve and turn it off.
Immediately contact a plumber for repairs.
Keep Your Home Warm and Safe
Keep flashlights in every room in case the power goes out.
Keep extra firewood or fire logs on hands in case of gas or electricity outages.
Close the fireplace damper when not in use.
Close blinds and curtains to keep the cold air outside and the warm air inside, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
Use ceiling fans to distribute heat around a room.
Place draft snakes on window sills.
Have a working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
Outside of Your Home
Purchase a bag of rock salt to melt ice on walkways.
Keep a bag of sand on hand to improve traction.
Make sure there is a snow shovel in your garage to dig out of any accumulated snow.
Keep a windshield scraper handy.
Protect Your Pets
Remember to bring your pets indoors.
If your pets are outdoor pets, make sure there is a place out of the cold and wind where they can sleep.
Before starting your car in the morning, make sure a cat isn’t staying warm under the hood.
Pets who spend a lot of time outdoors during cold weather need extra food because keeping warm depletes energy.
Use plastic food and water bowls to keep your pets tongue from freezing to the metal.
The salt used to melt snow and ice can be harmful if ingested and cause damage to animal paws.
Antifreeze tastes sweet to pets, but is a deadly poison to both animals and children.
Keep an eye on elderly or disabled friends, neighbors or employees.
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