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Battling Extreme Cold Weather at Home

In an unwelcome start to the new year, the US will be hit by a frigid blast according to the latest models, a bone-chilling blast of cold air may drop parts of the US into sub-zero temperatures. In light of this expectation, let's explore ways you may soften the blow of this cold front and keep you and your family safe and warm. Below is a list of tips you may find useful:

  • Make every effort to keep all outside animals safe, comfortable, well-fed, and hydrated. If any of these creatures are pets, such as dogs kenneled outside, see if they may be brought inside.
  • Anticipate municipal water lines freezing and bursting by filling up water containers around the house. Fill up your regular water pitchers, pet water bowls, and plant watering cans, run your washing machine on the cold water cycle and turn it off to have a full tub of water, and perhaps a clean bath tub as well.
  • Open all cupboards under sinks to expose the pipes to the heat of the room. Our pipelines will need all the aid they can get in this kind of weather.
  • Allow all of the faucets to trickle. The more you let the water flow in chilly temperatures, the better. In the pipes, moving water does not freeze as quickly as frozen water.
  • Do all you can to offer a little warmth wherever you can get to your pipes in or beneath your house. In a crawl area, you could use 60 or 100 watt lights, or you could position a bulb next to an incoming metal pipe, or you could use an electric blanket to cover any of your pipes. Simply attempt to keep them warm enough to prevent them from freezing. And by safe, we mean something that won't harm your pipes or start a fire that will burn down your house.
  • If your house is cold, have everyone sleep in the same room, and the smaller the space, the better. Also, avoid allowing anyone to sleep on the floor since it will be cooler.
  • If you have a space heater, make sure it's in the right spot and not too close to anything combustible. It's also not a good idea to leave it running all night. Simply warm the room first, then turn off the heater and set an alarm to wake up in a few hours to re-start it.
  • When you're working with limited electricity, such as when utilizing a generator, you can only accomplish so much for so long. One tip is to warm your blanket with a blow dryer shortly before you jump in. But don't leave the dryer running; it's only for brief periods of time.
  • Heat rocks or fire-resistant bricks on your grill or outside fire, then utilize the heated pebbles to warm the space you're in. Again, use caution while handling these hot rocks.
  • Close the blinds, draw the curtains, and do whatever you can to keep drafts out of your doors and windows. Painter's tape may be used to seal around door and window seams, and rolled-up towels can be placed around the base of windows where they open, and blankets can be hung over doors and windows to decrease drafts and heat loss via poorly insulated surfaces.
  • If you have a generator and a lot of things to operate, you'll need to rotate how you use it. Contrary to popular belief, a typical household generator will not power the entire house all night! One method is to use "light timers" -- similar to those used for home security -- and connect your generator power line to a bus bar or power strip inside the house, then use a few light timers to alternate appliance use. Connecting a few timers will relieve you of needing to keep an eye on power switches all night.
Things to watch out for:

  • Unless you have a fireplace in the room and someone to keep an eye on the fire, don't heat with an open flame. If you're in a sealed or well-insulated space, flame is a risk, and it also consumes breathing oxygen.
  • Carbon monoxide is produced in greater quantities by charcoal than by almost any other fuel.
  • If you have a generator, keep it out of the home and away from any doors or windows. Every year, a number of people die as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning caused by incorrect generator use.
  • Don't heat with water or steam -- unless it's a sealed hot water bottle -- since it merely makes everything wet and colder when the heat goes out.


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