Snow and winter weather can be a lot of fun, but blizzards and extremely cold weather systems can cause serious issues for your home. Ace Hardware can help you prepare your home prior, during and after a winter storm. Below are helpful tips to educate and properly prepare homeowners for extreme winter weather.
Winter Weather Preparation:
- Stock up: Purchase in advance all the necessary tools to clear sidewalks and driveways, uncover your car and keep all passageways clear. Stock up on snow shovels, a snow blower with gas and salt or sand to pre-treat the driveway and sidewalks, all items that will help you keep snow and slush at bay.
- Create an emergency kit: Items to assemble for your kit include a First Aid kit, battery-powered radio, water, flashlights and lanterns, fresh batteries, blankets to keep warm if the power goes out, a manual can opener and a three-day supply of drinking water and non-perishable canned food. Keep your cellphone charged up in case of an emergency.
- Insulation central: Take steps to make sure your home is properly insulated, including:
- Insulate walls and attics to conserve heat and energy.
- Insulate pipes, especially those near exterior walls of your home, to prevent freezing.
- Apply weather-stripping around doors and windows to protect against drafting air. This will help prevent cold air from getting in and your furnace from working even harder.
- Install storm windows or use plastic sheeting to cover windows.
- Use all-weather caulk to seal around window frames, doorframes and other openings on the exterior of your home.
- Close currents and blinds to help retain the heat in your home.
- Close doors to unused rooms to retain heat in the center of your home.
- Generate power: If you live in an area that experiences frequent power outages due to severe winter weather, consider purchasing a generator. But remember NEVER to operate a generator indoors, as the engine exhaust contains potentially fatal carbon monoxide.
- Be Cautious: Change the air filter in your furnace to avoid the system from working even harder when temperatures decline. Make sure you have a working carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the house.
- Heat it up: If you have a wood burning fireplace or heat source, stock up on firewood. Always be sure the flue is open to allow gases and potentially harmful fumes to escape.
- Winterize your vehicle: Put on snow tires or chains (where allowed) and make sure your brakes are in good working condition. Try to keep your gas tank more than half full to prevent gas lines from freezing. If you park your vehicle outside, you may want to keep a lock deicer handy as well.
During and After the Storm:
- Frequent shoveling: Depending on the amount of snow that falls, it is a good idea to occasionally clear a path from the front and back door or your home. In case of an emergency, you need a clear exit at all times. If a heavy amount of snow falls and your boiler or furnace has vents on the side of your home, make sure that you remove enough snow so that pipe stays clear. If it becomes covered with snow your unit will shut down.
- Severe cold switch: During bouts of extreme cold temperatures, switch your heater from auto to fan on. This adjustment will constantly circulate warm air throughout the home causing the burners to run less, which will maintain a consistent warm temperature in your home and use less natural gas and/or electricity.
- Prevent freezing: In areas of the home where pipes are prone to freezing, such as a bathroom on an outside wall or basement, turn the faucet on slightly to allow a trickle of water. Moving water will keep the pipes from freezing. Keep the cabinet doors to pipes open so warm air can reach them.
- Frozen pipes: If pipes freeze, remove any insulation and wrap towels around the pipes to absorb moisture during the thawing process. Do not use a blowtorch to thaw frozen pipes, slow thawing works best to prevent them from bursting.