Preparing Your Home for the Extreme Cold
The St. Paul and Minneapolis areas are known for harsh winter conditions and extreme cold. These conditions can pose a serious threat to your home and family if unprepared. Maintaining your home and keeping adequate emergency supplies on hand will keep you safe and take away the stress associated with potentially harsh winter conditions.
The basic necessities of life will mean more than ever when below-zero temperatures threaten your home and family. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention emergency website suggests creating various checklists when facing extreme cold. This includes:
- Heating Checklist – you may be tempted to turn on the stove to keep warm, but this is not safe. Alternatively, you should have extra blankets, sleeping bags, and warm winter coats on hand. In addition, consider purchasing space heaters with automatic shut-off switches and non-glowing elements. Be cautious of where you place space heaters — never on top of furniture, near drapes, or near water, under any circumstance. Teach your children keep away from space heaters, and monitor them closely when heaters are in use.
- Cooking and Lighting Checklist – one of the first things to go during a winter storm or in extreme cold temperatures is the main power supply. Have battery-powered lanterns/flashlights on hands with extra batteries. NEVER use charcoal grills or portable gas stoves. Flames created by these should only exist outdoors, and can be deadly indoors. Candles are a great idea for warmth and light, but should be monitored closely.
- Food and Safety Checklist – When preparing for extreme cold, make sure to account for water, canned food items, non-perishable items, first aid kits, rock salt, prescription drugs, non-electric can opener, and flashlights with fresh batteries.
- Water Checklist – Sub-zero temperatures will immediately threaten water supplies in a home if measures aren’t taken to protect them. Make sure all water taps are slightly open to allow them to drip continuously. This, in most cases, will prevent frozen pipes. If the pipes do freeze, do not thaw them with a torch. Use an electric hair dryer to thaw them slowly. Consider filling the bathtub with water if you don’t have water bottles on hand.
- Car and Emergency Checklist – Keep an extra cell phone, a charger, and batteries in your car. Also, anything necessary to removing ice and snow from and around your vehicle, like an ice scraper and shovel. Extra blankets, road rock salts, tool kits, booster cables, tire chains, snack food, water, and a compass are all good items to store in your car at all times.
It’s important to have and to store all emergency items in easily-accessible places and to keep track of depleted supplies.
Maintaining the Home
Aside from all the items you should have on hand, there are some simple things you should know to prevent extreme cold from threatening your home and safety. They are:
- Know where your water shut-off valve is so you can locate and turn it off quickly.
- Open sink cabinet doors to expose pipes to warm air.
- Check windows and doors for drafts — caulk windows and apply weather stripping to doors.
- WInterize your pipes (especially those exposed in unheated areas) with insulation.
- In the case of heavy snowfall or extreme winds, overhanging branches or trees represent risks to your home, car, and people. Trim and maintain them so they don’t become a hazard.
- Clear roof and gutters of debris.
For more ideas and in depth suggestions for maintaining your home, click here.
Don’t let harsh winter conditions in the Minneapolis or St. Paul areas threaten your home, your safety, or the safety of your family and friends. However, even the most prepared home can be damaged and be in need of repair and construction. In any situation, Rapid Restoration is standing by with a 24-hour emergency response team, and will be at your home or business within 60 minutes. Click here to learn more about us, and here for information on service areas.