Didn’t Expect Artic Temperatures in Your Area? Here’s What You Can Do to Protect Your Home.

Updated February 20, 2024
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Here are some tips on how to prepare.

  1. Insulate Pipes:
    • Specific Reason: Insulating pipes, particularly those in unheated areas like basements, attics, and garages, prevents them from freezing. Water expands when frozen, exerting pressure on the pipes, which can cause them to crack or burst.
    • Risk if Ignored: If pipes burst, it can lead to severe water damage inside walls, under floors, and in ceilings, requiring extensive and costly repairs.
  2. Seal Windows and Doors:
    • Specific Reason: Sealing gaps with weather stripping or caulk keeps cold air out and warm air in, improving the home’s overall thermal efficiency and comfort.
    • Risk if Ignored: Drafty windows and doors can lead to significant heat loss, resulting in higher energy bills and a cold, uncomfortable living environment.
  3. Roof and Gutter Maintenance:
    • Specific Reason: Regularly cleaning gutters and inspecting the roof prevents water buildup and ice dam formation. Ice dams can prevent melting snow from draining, causing water to seep under shingles.
    • Risk if Ignored: Ignored ice dams and clogged gutters can lead to water seeping into the house, causing damage to ceilings, walls, insulation, and possibly leading to mold growth.
  4. Heating System Maintenance:
    • Specific Reason: Annual servicing of heating systems ensures they are operating efficiently and safely, reducing the risk of breakdowns during critical cold periods.
    • Risk if Ignored: Neglecting maintenance can lead to heating system failures, leaving your home without heat during freezing temperatures, and increasing the risk of frozen and burst pipes.
  5. Emergency Kit:
    • Specific Reason: A well-stocked emergency kit with blankets, flashlights, batteries, water, and non-perishable food prepares you for power outages or being stranded.
    • Risk if Ignored: In the absence of an emergency kit, you may face difficulties in staying warm, hydrated, and fed during extended power outages, especially if roads are impassable.
  6. Protect Plants and Outdoor Equipment:
    • Specific Reason: Covering sensitive plants with frost cloth and storing outdoor furniture and equipment protects them from frostbite and water damage.
    • Risk if Ignored: Exposed plants can suffer from frost damage or die, and outdoor furniture and equipment may rust or get damaged, leading to unnecessary replacement costs.
  7. Keep Sidewalks and Driveways Clear:
    • Specific Reason: Using salt or sand on sidewalks and driveways melts ice and increases traction, reducing the risk of slips and falls.
    • Risk if Ignored: Icy surfaces are a significant slip hazard, potentially leading to serious injuries for residents and visitors.
  8. Ventilation:
    • Specific Reason: Ensuring adequate ventilation, especially in areas like bathrooms and kitchens, prevents excessive moisture buildup, which can lead to mold and mildew.
    • Risk if Ignored: Poor ventilation can result in damp conditions, fostering mold growth, which can damage home structures and adversely affect respiratory health.
  9. Educate Yourself:
    • Specific Reason: Understanding the signs of frostbite, hypothermia, and the best practices for staying warm can prevent serious health issues during extreme cold.
    • Risk if Ignored: Without this knowledge, you might not recognize the symptoms of cold-related illnesses, delaying critical responses that could prevent long-term health consequences or even save lives.
  10. Community Preparedness:
  • Specific Reason: Community plans, especially for vulnerable populations, ensure that everyone has access to warm shelters, emergency supplies, and critical information.
  • Risk if Ignored: A lack of community preparedness can lead to chaotic and ineffective responses, potentially resulting in increased risks for the elderly, homeless, and those with health conditions during extreme cold events.

Being specific about these measures and understanding their importance can significantly enhance preparedness and safety during unexpected cold weather conditions.