Here are the hot tips you’ll need to know to raise your readiness when the mercury drops.
• Check insulation. Add extra insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Excessive heat loss through the attic can cause snow or ice to melt on the roof. Refreezing and buildup can result in a collapsed roof. It also can contribute to ice damming. Ideally, the attic should be five to 10 degrees warmer than the outside air.
• Maintain pipes. Wrap pipes with heating tape and insulate unfinished rooms such as garages that frequently have exposed pipes.
Seal up openings that let in cold air around and under doors and windows.
• Lower thermostats serving unused rooms (as long as the walls in those rooms do not contain water pipes).
• Close dampers in unused fireplaces.
• Move furniture and drapes away from heating registers, radiators and baseboard heat covers.
• Open any register or baseboard damper found in the closed position.
• Replace dirty or clogged air filters.
• If your furnace doesn't seem to be working, following these steps may restart the furnace:
- Make sure the thermostat is set above room temperature.
- Make sure the heater's switch is on.
- Make sure the fuses are OK and the circuit breaker is on.
When the temperature drops below 20 degrees, pipes in homes without adequate insulation may freeze and break.
• In extremely cold weather, turn your faucets on just enough to allow slow, constant dripping. This will not necessarily prevent freezing, but it can prevent the pipe from bursting. Leaving a faucet open provides relief from excessive pressure.
• Keep the house warm. Keeping your home at 65 degrees or warmer will reduce the potential for freezing pipes.
• If pipes burst, the first thing to do is turn off the main water shutoff valve. Make sure everyone in your family knows where the shutoff valve is and how to open and close it. A crack that is an eighth of an inch wide can release 250 gallons of water in one day.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless, colorless gas that interferes with the delivery of oxygen in the blood to the rest of the body. It is produced by the incomplete burning of some fuels, such as coal, wood, charcoal, natural gas and fuel oil.
• Symptoms are sometimes mistaken for the flu or food poisoning. Fetuses, infants, the elderly and people with heart and respiratory illnesses are particularly at risk.
• Make sure appliances are working properly.
• Obtain annual inspections for heating systems, chimneys and flues.
• Open flues when fireplaces are in use.
• Do not use ovens or gas ranges to heat your home.
• Do not burn charcoal indoors.
• Do not use unvented gas or kerosene space heaters in enclosed spaces.
• Never leave a car running in a garage.
• Make sure your furnace has adequate intake of outside air.
• Consider bringing outdoor pets inside, particularly young or elderly pets, small animals or animals with short hair.
• Doghouses should be positioned in a sunny, sheltered location during cold weather. Raise the house off the ground several inches and put a flap (car doormat) over the door to keep out cold drafts. Use dry straw or cedar shavings for bedding - rugs and blankets can hold moisture and freeze.
• Cats sometimes climb up under the hoods of cars to be near warm engines and are killed or injured when the car is started.
• Buy antifreeze made with propylene glycol (brands include Sierra and Prestone Lowtox) instead of ethylene glycol, which is a deadly poison even in small doses. Animals are attracted to antifreeze because of its sweet taste. Clean spills promptly.
Clean off your dog's or cat's legs, feet and stomach after coming in from the snow. Salt and other chemicals can make an animal sick if they are ingested while the animal grooms itself.
FOOD AND WATER
Increase food rations during winter (animals burn more calories to keep warm).
Provide water for outdoor animals. Consider heating water dishes.
CARS & DRIVING
• Have the radiator system serviced, or check the antifreeze level yourself.
• Replace wiper fluid with a wintertime mixture.
• Check the air pressure in tires. Replace worn tires.
• Keep the gas tank nearly full to help avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
WINTER SURVIVAL KIT FOR YOUR CAR
- First aid kit
- Waterproof matches
- Windshield scraper
- Booster cables
- Road maps
- Tool kit
- Paper towels
- Bag of sand or cat litter
(to pour on ice or snow for added traction) - Small or collapsible shovel
- High-calorie or dried foods
- Can opener
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Canned compressed air with sealant (for emergency tire repair)
- Brightly colored cloth
• Make sure the tires have adequate tread. All-weather radials are usually adequate for most winter conditions.
• Tire pressure. When outside temperature drops 10 degrees, air pressure inside your tires goes down about one or two pounds per square inch. Check your tire pressure frequently and add air to keep tires at recommended levels of inflation.
• Never reduce tire pressure in an attempt to increase traction on snow or ice. It does not work and your tires will be damaged.
Stay warm and safe, and have a great weekend!
Source By: NJ News Star-Ledger Staff