We are almost out of this severe cold spell, but we have at least another day and a half of this Polar Vortex business! Following are a few tips for protecting your home from damage that can occur from the extreme cold.
- Check the location for the main water shutoff in your home. Learn how it works in case you have to use it.
- Let faucets drip slowly. When temperatures are severely low, keeping water moving in the pipes will help prevent them from freezing.
- Keep your fireplace flue closed when not using it. This will keep cold air from blowing in.
- Keep your pipes warm. Even if the rest of your house is warm, the pipes in your basement, attic, crawl space, and back of cabinets can freeze. Wrap those pipes in insulation, and open kitchen and bathroom cabinets to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
- Check your roof. If a lot of snow accumulates, your roof could collapse. If heavy snow starts to build up, one option is getting a roof rake with a long handle so you can remove snow from the ground. Going on top of the roof to shovel it could damage it (and not to mention dangerous!).
- Keep your garage doors closed. This will not only protect whatever is inside from weather damage, but will also keep the house warmer.
- Keep two emergency kits. Keep one in your home and one in your car. Stock them with flashlights, extra batteries, battery-powered radio, a car charger for your phone, extra cash in case you have trouble getting to an ATM, a 3-day supply of food and water, a first-aid kit, and a 7-day supply of medications. In case you get stuck for a long period of time in your car, keep extra hats and gloves, energy bars and water, windshield scraper and broom, road salt or cat litter, road flares, jumper cables, and a sleeping bag or blanket.
- Buy a carbon-monoxide detector. Carbon-monoxide poisoning is one of the biggest dangers of winter, and is caused by poor ventilation. Keep a detector on every floor of your home.
- Ask a neighbor to check your house regularly if you are away. If pipes freeze or there’s a water leak, quick action can meal less damage.