Home Preparation for Winter

Preparatory Steps

  • Drain outside water faucets, including the backflow device
  • Bring in or batten down items that can fly in strong winds
  • Clean gutters and drains
  • Protect water pipes from freezing, including pipes in crawl spaces and attic, Wrap pipes with insulating material, heat tape, or thermostatically controlled heat cables
  • In freezing weather, let water trickle from faucets with pipes
  • on outside walls.
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes under sinks and appliances near exterior walls.
  • If you're going away, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees
  • Seal off windows and doors.
  • Have your chimney cleaned. Chop plenty of wood.

If your pipes freeze don't take chances. If you turn on your faucets and nothing comes out, leave the faucets turned on and call a plumber. If you detect your water pipes have frozen and burst, turn off the water at the main shut-off valve in the house or meter pit outside; leave the water faucets turned on.

Never try to thaw a pipe with a torch or other open flame (risk of fire). You may be able to thaw a frozen pipe with a hairdryer. Start by warming the pipe as close to the faucet as possible, working toward the coldest section of pipe.

Supplies on Hand

The American Red Cross is a good source of information. Call them at 503-284-1234 or log onto <www.redcross.org>, under Disaster Services, click onto "Disaster Supplies Kit." They recommend at least a 3-day emergency supply of necessities, such as I gallon of water per person, portable radio, flashlights, batteries, extra blankets, manual can opener, ready -to-eat foods, medication and medical supplies.
RR 1103