Like I said in Baby It's Cold Outside - Avoiding Freeze Damage - Part 1, unless you've been on an extended tropical vacation, you've experienced the cold temperatures across the nation. You'll remember we talked about heat tape in that article. Here are some additional tips to help keep you, and your house, warm and safe this winter.
- Use heat strip tape on crucial pipes, wellheads, etc. to avoid freezing and loss of use.
- Leave water trickling in faucets.
- If you're going be gone for an extended period turn OFF the water supply coming into your house. Depending on the temperatures, this could even mean while you're away at work 8-10 hours/day. This way, if a pipe does freeze and break, the water will not continue to run and flood your home or basement.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks to allow warm air in which helps keep them from freezing.
- Make sure warm air does not leak into your attic. The attic should remain cold, just a few degrees above the outside air temperature. Otherwise, you run the risk of "ice dams" forming which can create water back up under your shingles which can result in leaks.
- Keep gutters and downspouts clean to avoid water backing up and freezing.
- Remember personal safety and don't hire strangers who are going door-to-door and offering to do such things as clean your gutters, remove snow from your roof, etc.
- Have an emergency kit in the house in case the power goes out. Items such as flashlights, extra batteries, non-perishable foods (don't forget the manual can opener) are just a few items to include.
- Have an emergency kit in your car in case you get stranded. Items such as blankets, bottled water, snacks, mittens, jumper cables, flares, kitty litter (or salt) and, of course, toilet paper (just in case) will come in handy. In addition, keep the gas tank at least 1/2 full and cell phones charged.
- Have both smoke AND carbon monoxide detectors in your home.
- Take caution when using fireplaces or wood stoves. Keep firewood at a safe distance to avoid it getting too hot and actually catching fire. Yes, this does happen!
- Keep an inspected, working fire extinguisher in your home.
- Never use a gas stove (oven or burners) to heat your home.
- Last, but not least, have a fire emergency plan and practice it seasonally, especially if you have young children.
While many of these items seem like common sense, we all know that common sense is not so common anymore. Every day it seems we hear about house fires and the death and destruction they cause. Most of which could have been avoided following some of the steps above.
Be wise and stay safe - and WARM!
Bill and Cyndi
Baby It's Cold Outside - Avoiding Free Damage - Part 1