Actions to take to protect your property
• Disconnect all outside hoses from the faucet and insulate the faucet.
Keep your pool or spa pumps running while temperatures are below freezing.
• Let the water run if the temperature dips below freezing. (A stream slightly smaller than a pencil width should be sufficient). Using cold water will save on your
gas or electric bill. (Your city of residency and WILL NOT reimburse
you for any water used as a preventative measure during freezing conditions.)
If you do not have foam pipe insulation, you can use newspapers, towels, rags, blankets or any other similar materials to temporarily protect your pipes.
Take Action during Cold Weather
• Keep the garage door closed if there are water supply lines located inside.
• Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing.
• Keep the heating thermostat set at a consistent temperature both day and night.
• If going out of town during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home. Set the thermostat to a temperature no lower than 55 °F, and open cabinet doors where there is plumbing.
Thawing Frozen Pipes after the Storm
• Open all faucets throughout the house.
• If you suspect that the pipe is frozen; keep the faucet open. Water will begin to flow as you treat the frozen area, which will help to melt more ice in the pipe.
• Make sure you know where the main water valve is located outside of your home. If there is a frozen pipe it may already be broken, and it will leak when the water is thawed. If this is the case, you’ll need to turn off the main water valve to your home until the leak is repaired.
• Inspect all other faucets in your home to find out if additional pipes are frozen. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze also. (water will not come out if frozen, toilets may not flush.
If toilets will not flush you can use a bucket of water, pour it into the toilet and it will flush)
• Locate and know how to operate the main water shut-off valve at the house and at the street main water meter.
You may need to shut off the water into the house if a pipe bursts.
• Locate and know how to operate the main electrical disconnect to shut off all the power to the house.
• Locate and know how to operate the water shut-off valve at the water heater.
• Locate and change the batteries in your Carbon Monoxide detectors and Smoke detectors.
What NOT TO DO!
• DO NOT attempt to use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame devices they present a serious fire hazard as well as release lethal carbon monoxide fumes into the air.
• DO NOT use a stove or oven as a heating source.
• DO NOT use antifreeze in toilets or pipes. Antifreeze is a toxic substance that can harm the environment or you and your pets.
- Keep warm, stay inside if possible.
- If you need to go out, dress in layers and wear hats, gloves and an appropriate coat.
- Avoid overexertion, as cold weather puts added strain on your body.
- Never place a space heater on top of furniture or near water.
- Keep heat sources at least 3 feet away from furniture and drapes.
- Never leave children unattended near a space heater.
Protect yourself from carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning by installing a battery-operated CO detector and never using generators, grills, camp stoves, or similar devices indoors.
It is also recommended that you prepare your car for winter. Have your car serviced and add antifreeze as needed. Make sure battery terminals are clean and tightened — you may even want to clean around terminals with an old toothbrush and a homemade mixture of baking soda and water. Keep in mind that you should replace your battery every three to four years. Make certain windshield wipers and defrosters are in good working order and the window washer reservoirs are filled.
Finally, keep emergency supplies at hand and stay informed about the weather conditions in our area.
The number one cold weather tip is to cover your plants with a frost cloth. This allows the plant breathe, but also holds a lot of heat. If you can’t find a frost cloth, a sheet or a blanket works well. Just make sure the material allows your plants to breathe and that it isn’t just sitting on top of the plants. You want to wrap it around and below the plant so no wind enters. If there are potted plants you cannot move inside, then move potted plants to a spot where they’re protected from the north wind. The wind causes a lot of frost damage, not necessarily the cold temperatures.
Spread at least two to three inches of mulch to protect the roots of plants and trees. You may get frost damage on top of the plant, but if the roots are protected then the roots can come back in the spring. Mulch will cost you around $5.
Finally, use water on plants. It goes against common sense, but watering your plants actually protects them from the cold. The water in the ground is going to keep the roots from getting frost damage.
By following these tips, you can spend less money to protect your plants than replacing them if they’re damaged.
You should also avoid some common mistakes: Don’t cover plants with plastic. Don’t cut back dead-looking parts of plants after a cold spell. Don’t put mulch too close to plants and trees. Don’t wait until it’s too cold to cover your plants.
- Disconnect outdoor hoses, drain and store in protected area.
- Wrap exposed faucets and pipes, including those outside the house or in unheated crawl spaces, attics, garages and other areas.
- If you have a pool, besides keeping the pump running, make sure all the valves are open as well.
- Bring pets inside, and move other animals or livestock to sheltered areas.
- Keep adequate food and water available.
It’s important to remember that a pet’s age, breed or illness may affect how they tolerate the cold winter months. It is best that all pets live indoors due these unpredictable weather conditions.
- Housing: Provide proper shelter for your pet whether they live indoors or outdoors. Indoor pets should have their bed or crate placed in a safe and warm place that is away from drafts. Outdoor pets should have a well insulated house that is wind and waterproof resistant and elevated off the ground so wind and moisture can’t seep inside. Install a door flap to protect against drafts and gusts of wind. Extra blankets and straw will also help to increase your pet’s warmth. Room and floor heaters should be kept away from your pet as they are an obvious fire hazard and can cause serious injuries as well.
- Food & Water: Make sure to provide fresh, clean water for your pet every day. Outdoor pets need to consume 25 to 50 percent more calories than usual because the cold weather tends to deplete their energy. Make sure to talk to your veterinarian to make sure what is right for your pet.
- Cars are Refrigerators: A car can act as refrigerator in the winter. Never leave your dog or cat alone in a car during the winter months as they will freeze to death.
- Cats and Cars: Keep your cats indoors during the winter. Not only can outdoor cats freeze, they sometimes sleep under the hoods of cars to stay warm. When the motor is started, the cat can be injured or killed by the fan belt. Give an outdoor cat a chance to escape by banging loudly on the car hood before starting your car.
- Warmth: If you have a short-haired breed of dog, consider getting him / her a sweater with a high collar or turtleneck with coverage from the base of the tail to the belly to keep them warm. Never shave your dog down to the skin in the winter months as a longer coat will provide more warmth.
- Antifreeze: Dogs and cats are attracted to the sweet smell and taste of antifreeze which contains ethylene glycol. A tiny lick can kill your dog or cat so make sure to check your car for leaks on your driveway or gutter. Keep containers tightly closed and clean up spills immediately. Check your local retailer for “pet safe” antifreeze.
- Rodenticides: Rat and mouse poisons are commonly used during the winter months. Place them out of reach as they can cause fatal bleeding or kidney failure in your pet.
If you are unsure of how to conduct freeze prevention, it is recommended that you contact a professional. We cannot be held responsible for any information contained in this document and for any actions that you do or do not take to protect your home.