EXTREME Cold Weather can be dangerous.
Stay safe and healthy by planning ahead.
Prepare your home and cars. Prepare for power outages and outdoor activity. Check on older adults.
Although winter comes as no surprise, many of us are not ready for its arrival.
If you are prepared for the hazards of winter, you will be more likely to stay safe and healthy when temperatures start to fall.
Take These Steps for Your Home
Many people prefer to remain indoors during winter, but staying inside is no guarantee of safety.
Take these steps to keep your home safe and warm during the winter months.
How to Protect Your Home For EXTREME Cold Weather
- Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
- Spray an ice repellent solution on steps and walks before freezing weather arrives
- Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
- Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spray to circulate it in lines.
- Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
- Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
- Drain birdbaths and fountains
- Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
- Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
- Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel. (Have you seen this shovel?)
- Stay off your roof during freezing weather, but once the ice and snow have melted, inspect your roof for any damage.
How To Deal With Frozen Pipes
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
- Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
- Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.
- Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
- Close or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
- Close garage doors.
- Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks.
- Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.
- Set icemaker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
- Don’t forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room
- Locate water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
- Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.
- Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it.
- After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.
Prevent pipes from freezing During EXTREME Cold Weather
Insulating your water pipes is essential to prepare your home for the dropping temperatures.
When water freezes it expands, which can increase pressure throughout your whole plumbing system.
This can burst both plastic and copper pipes in your home and cause flooding. Water pipe insulation will save you money by preventing heat loss and preventing the damage caused by burst pipes and flooding.
How You Can Stay Warm Durning EXTREME Cold Weather
We've written an article about how to stay warm during cold winter months even when there's a power outage.
And here are other helpful tips for you.
- Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s working properly.
- Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
- Keep drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
- Put up storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of windows.
- Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
- Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home centers.
- Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
- Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
- Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
- Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
- If you heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
- If you heat with wood or coal, have plenty of fuel on hand.
Don’t Forget To Insulate Your Attic And Walls
If your home isn’t well insulated, you are wasting heat and money.
Up to 30% of your home’s heat is lost through the roof, so a good place to start is the attic.
As 33% - 45% of your home’s heat can be lost through uninsulated walls, this is another important task to prepare your home for winter.
And To Clear Gutters
Clogged gutters prevent proper water drainage, which can damage your property.
If rain and melted ice is not allowed to flow away easily, it can leak into your home and cause water damage. Before winter, clear away any debris such as fallen leaves from gutters and make sure down pipes are also clear.
How To Prepare Your Car For Winter
It is easy to forget that your car also needs to be made winter-proof.
The water reservoir for washing your windscreen should be filled up to the maximum mark and correctly mixed with an anti-freeze solution. Always make sure you can see properly out of your windows before embarking on a journey.
In Case You Get Stranded...
And if you want to stay warm in your car...
You can go with a thick wool blanket but I prefer an all-weather reflective emergency blanket
These blankets are made with a heat reflective internal layer that helps trap the body heat you’re generating.
Keeping you warmer, longer.
Also, consider how many people you’ll be traveling with and be sure that you can keep everyone warm.
And If You Are Trapped Inside Your Car...
If you are ever trapped inside your car, you can use a blade on the side of that tool that can slice through your wedged seatbelt like butter, and then utilize the tip of the charger to shatter most auto glass in moments, enabling you an escape from your car in any dire situation.
Not only that, once you have escaped you can even use the charger to signal for help.
Right above the charging ports is a double duty 150 lumen flashlight/emergency signal light. This can be used to signal helicopters, or even to shine in the eyes of a would-be attacker.
So, let’s get this straight, with the 6 in 1 tool you have:
- Car charger
- Battery bank
- Seatbelt cutte
- Flashlight, strobe light AND a
- Glass breaker
You also don't want to forget to bring in your car some...
Carry de-icer and a screen scraper in the car to help you clear your screen when you are in hurry.
Check the tread depth and pressure in your tyres. Car tyres should be above the minimum legal tread depth, and if you are unsure of the correct pressure (PSI) for your tyres, enquire with a mechanic.
How To Protect Your Pet For EXTREME Cold WeatherDon’t forget your beloved outdoor pets as the frost sets in. If you can’t bring them in out of the cold, ensure they have enough shelter to keep them warm and unfrozen water to drink.
How to Stay Safe in an Ice or Snow Storm
- Stockpile nonperishable food and water.
- Refill prescription medications in advance of storm.
- Fill car with gas.
- Charge cell phones.
- Have flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and a manual can opener on hand.
- A portable generator can come in handy when the lights go out, but take precautions to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning when using.
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and the batteries powering them are fresh.
- Have a working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.
- A chain saw can come in handy for removing broken limbs after an ice storm
Related post: Winter Power Outage Survival Guide