Preparing A Home
Driving on Slick Roads
Preparing For Winter Weather
weather can have many affects on life both inside and outside your home.
Here are some tips for preparing before a winter weather strikes and tips
for dealing with the consequences of the weather once it arrives.
Preparation Around the Home
Preparation at home really begins long before the storm arrives. The
following is a checklist of home maintenance that provides greater
protection during freezing weather.
Windows and Doors
- Regularly, at least once a year, check for air gaps in windows,
window panes and around doors. This will stop heat loss during cold
If a draft is felt then
gaps around window trim, door trim or glass panes in older windows to
stop the draft. Around the moving parts of windows and doors, weather
stripping can be used to stop drafts. Weather stripping is available at
many Home Improvement centers as well as local department stores of
various types. Metal, Vinyl and Foam Strips are available. Foam Strips
are the easiest to apply and come in a roll which sticks like tape to
the door seal after pealing off the backing. Other types attach by
nailing in place with small brads and are much more durable than foam.
Seek help if needed to apply the stripping because the use of the door
or window can be affected if the wrong stripping is used or applied
improperly. Ask the supplier which type is best for you, they should be
able to answer any questions.
Spray foam can be purchased at most any home improvement center or
department store. Follow the directions on the can to fill larger gaps.
Seal up or cover open vents or access points around the foundation to
stop outside air from freely flowing into the crawl space or basement if
you do not have a slab floor. This minimizes heat loss and keeps pipes
from freezing as quickly. Pipes freeze much quicker in moving air.
Cover pipes with heat tape in areas where freezing may occur, follow
all directions for the heat tape use. Don't skip hot water pipes. Hot
water pipes can actually freeze quicker than cold water pipes. No this
isn't a joke. The mineral content of hot water is changed by a process
called electrolysis which causes it to freeze quicker in some
circumstances than the cold water pipes.
In an emergency these tips may help.
Get Chimney's cleaned and inspected if using a fire place or wood
Check batteries in smoke alarms, Install Smoke Alarms if there are none
Get a battery powered Carbon Monoxide Alarm and install it properly.
- Use towels to block under drafty doors.
- Cover windows with plastic sheeting from a local department store.
Using cardboard or thin wooden strips to staple or tack the plastic
over windows on the outside. From the inside plastic sheeting can be
applied approximately 2" - 3" from the glass (to leave a insulating
air space) and attached around the window with wide tape (note: some
tapes can remove the finish from wood work so a painters tape that
won't remove the finish may be best).
- Close off unused rooms and block gaps under doors with a towel.
Note: Try to keep any water pipes above freezing and leave some water
dripping to ward off broken pipes. In very cold temperatures water may
need to trickle from faucets if pipes are exposed to the outside
- Dress Warmly to be more comfortable in chilly conditions. Wear
flannel pajama pants and shirt and/ or thermal underwear under outer
clothing to increase layers and warmth. Wear layers of loose fitting
clothing over this. If need be remove layers if you become warm, Don't
sweat or get to hot, this can cause other problems, even leading to
frost bite during a period of inactivity, such as sleeping, if
moisture is in the clothing next to your skin.
- Beware of using non electric space heat not approved for indoor
use. You can be
poisoned by odorless and colorless carbon monoxide
released from burning fuels of any kind including a cooking stove
flame. Assure adequate ventilation if you have a open flame. Candles
and light bulbs also give off heat if needed (be very careful not
to place a heat source near any item that can catch fire).
Keep fuels like kerosene outdoors, not inside. Never Ever store or
bring gasoline indoors for any reason it is highly explosive
- If the Toilet backs up see Emergency Toilet Maintenance.
- If closing off a restroom containing a toilet during freezing
weather, and the room temperature will drop below the freezing level, pour some
(purchased at a automotive or department store) into
the bowl and tank of the toilet. Leave water dripping or trickling
from all faucets to prevent freezing if need be.
- If necessary retreat to a single room in the interior of the home
with as few outside windows as possible. Cover windows with plastic
sheeting, garbage bags or blankets. Close blinds, curtains or
draperies to stop cold air. Use small electric space heater, candles
(beware of carbon monoxide) or lamps for extra heat. A clip on light
and heat lamp supply heat also if electricity is available. (be very
careful with any heat source, a home fire will not help your situation
and may result in your death or the death of others.) Bundle in layers
- If necessary build a shelter using mattresses, blankets and other
available items including extra clothing in the center of the room.
Huddle with others if available to share body warmth.
- Evacuate to a friend's home or local public shelter if needed.
Leave a note for family members if you cannot contact them. Make
arrangements for care of your pets since these will likely not be
allowed in a public shelter.