With freezing weather approaching, it’s time to take the necessary precautions to protect pipes, pets and plants, and check on elderly friends and neighbors.
Here are ways to stay safe during cold temperatures, courtesy of the American Red Cross:
- Wear a layer of light weight clothing to stay warm. Gloves and a hat will help prevent loss of body heat.
- Know the symptoms of hypothermia – confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Anyone with these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
- Look for symptoms of frostbite, including numbness, gray, white, blue, or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, or waxy skin.
- Bring pets indoors. If this is not possible, make sure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and have access to unfrozen water.
- Avoid frozen pipes – run water, even on a trickle, to help prevent them from freezing. Keep the thermostat at the same temperature day and night to help prevent pipes from freezing.
- Do not use stoves or ovens to heat the home.
- The space heater should sit on a level, hard surface and keep combustibles at least three feet away.
- If using a fireplace, use a glass or metal fire screen large enough to catch sparks and rolling logs.
- Turn off the space heater and make sure the fireplace embers are out before leaving the room or going to bed.
And here are some additional details and tips from ECUA on how to protect pipes from freezing:
- Insulate pipes or faucets in unheated areas: Pipes located in unheated areas of your home, such as the garage or crawl space under the house or attic, are subject to freezing. If you have time to do this before freezing temperatures arrive, wrap these pipes with insulation material designed specifically for this purpose. These materials can be found at most hardware stores or home improvement centers.
- Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses: Disconnect all hoses from the faucet and allow them to drain. This process prevents the water in the hose or pipe from freezing and bursting the faucet or pipe to which it is connected.
- Run a trickle of water: When the forecast calls for constant and/or freezing temperatures, run a thin trickle of water from the faucet furthest from the water line coming into your home. Usually this is in a room at the back of the house or outside, in the courtyard. Allowing water to circulate through your home’s plumbing helps prevent it from freezing. Some people think of it as a waste of water, but the cost of water used is negligible compared to repairing broken pipes and the resulting water damage.
- Remember the backflow preventer: Residential and business owners who have backflow preventers on their properties for water lines, fire lines, irrigation systems, and swimming pools should also replace their backflow preventers. Need to protect from freezing. Extended freeze backflow can crack the body of the assembly, rendering it useless. Wrap these pipes with insulation material, specially designed for this purpose. These materials can be found at most hardware stores or home improvement centers. If the device and water line are not currently in use (ie, irrigation system or swimming pool lines), shut off the water supply line and drain the backflow device.