The weather outside is about to get VERY frightful this weekend. Record lows in some places will be in the low teens; in others, in the single digits and even into the negatives.
Before the big chill hits, check your house to make sure your water meter and any water lines that are in unheated or exposed areas, such as a basement or crawl space, are either insulated or wrapped in heat tape. If you’re unsure how to do this, contact a licensed plumber.
If you don’t have the time or resources to do either, take a few tips from the CDC:
“Leave all water taps slightly open so they drip continuously.
Keep the indoor temperature warm.
Improve the circulation of heated air near pipes. For example, open kitchen cabinet doors beneath the kitchen sink.”
It may waste some water, but in the long run, it will be less costly — and less wasteful — than having a pipe freeze and burst.
If your pipes do freeze, do NOT use a torch to thaw them. Instead, use a hair dryer to thaw them slowly. Torches are the most common cause of house fires when they’re used to thaw pipes.
If a pipe ruptures, find the shut-off valve and turn off the water. This is often located on the main service line. You may also have separate shut-off valves for outside pipes or other areas in the house.
When the frigid temperatures hit, be sure you’re heating your house safely. If you’re using space heaters to supplement, keep them at least 3 feet away from drapes and other flammable objects. Do not run cords under carpets, and avoid using extension cords for space heaters. Do not put a space heater on top of furniture.
If you’re using a kerosene or propane heater, use it near a ventilation source, like a window that’s open about ¼ inch. Never use charcoal tor fuel camp stoves to heat a home. Carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors can save your family’s life — make sure they’re installed, working properly, and have fresh batteries.
Stay safe this weekend, and check on shut-ins, elderly neighbors, and anyone who may have trouble getting through the record low temperatures.