Winter Weather is Coming
Winter means challenges to those of us on Skyline Ridge. When the power goes out and the pipes freeze, it’s good to remember a few cautions, courtesy of Tualatin Valley Fire and Rescue:
• If using a fireplace or woodstove for heat, ensure the flue is unobstructed and the damper is open. Use a tight-fitting fireplace screen or glass doors to contain burning embers.
• Keep a close eye on your fire and keep it manageable. A fire that grows too large and hot can result in a chimney fire. Also, ensure your fire is extinguished before going to bed or leaving home.
• Never use gasoline or lighter fluid to start a fire.
• Keep combustible materials (Christmas tree, furniture, paper, etc.) at least three feet away from fireplaces, woodstoves, and all heating devices.
• Ashes can rekindle and start a fire. Wait several days before cleaning out your fireplace or woodstove or dispose of ashes in a metal container with a lid, placed outside your home (not in the garage).
• Candles are a fire hazard. Use only flashlights, battery-operated lanterns, and light sticks as emergency lighting in your home.
• Never use outdoor equipment including propane or kerosene heaters or charcoal barbecues inside, due to the risk of carbon monoxide (CO) poisoning. CO is a colorless, odorless and tasteless gas that claims hundreds of lives every year.
• Check your smoke alarms to ensure they are working and install a carbon monoxide detector as a precaution.
• Make sure all members of the household know how to shut off the home’s water supply in case of a burst or leaking pipe. Even if pipes do not burst, water freezing in them can cause them to expand and crack, with the leakage not noticed until the water thaws.
• Pipes located in exterior walls can freeze even if they’re insulated. Help them by leaving a trickle of water running from the faucet and/or keeping cabinet doors open, if applicable, to let interior air warm the wall and pipes.
• Exposed pipes in the attic, basement or crawl space can freeze. Leaving a trickle of water running from a faucet farthest away from the water meter can help.
• Wrap insulating material or electrical wire heating wrap around the pipes.
• Never use a propane torch or open flame to thaw a pipe. You could ignite wood beams, flooring and other nearby combustible materials. Hair dryers should also be avoided due to the risk of electrocution.