When the Weather Outside Is Frightful
As a home alarm company, our focus is ensuring that your home is guarded against any unwanted intruders or emergencies. More than that, though, we know how much is entailed in keeping your home up and running. It seems as though there is a never-ending to-do list, for both indoors and out, that gets even worse in inclement weather. For us residents here in Northern Virginia, this winter has been a rough one, with colder temperatures and more snow than we are typically accustomed. Because of this, the home vulnerabilities that come along with that may have caught many of us off guard. Unfortunately, many homeowners have for the first time in their lives experienced destructive floods and fires already this winter – and it’s only January.
For those who have not yet done so, below are some precautions to take to help avoid becoming one of the victims of this harsh Virginia winter.
Sometimes our central heat is just not enough (or we don’t even have it). There is much to be said for snuggling by a cozy fire as the snow falls outside. However, any time there is an open flame, there is great risk for a devastating house fire. Make sure your chimney is clean before starting a fire and make sure any sparks are not hitting a flammable surface. Completely put out your fire before leaving the house or going to bed. Remember that even a candle can burn down a house, so use precautions when relying on these for heat or light. Portable heaters are often a great solution for drafty rooms, but be sure to use these exactly as the instructions say. Position these in the room far away from any fabrics, furniture, or other combustible items. If the power goes out, make sure all electronics and appliances are unplugged so as to avoid the power surge once the power is restored. As always, check the batteries in your smoke detectors and have fire extinguishers on every level.
Something we are not used to having to do in our area is protecting our pipes from freezing. Pipes are freezing and bursting all over the DC area, as many residents never knew how to properly prepare them for sub-freezing temperatures. To prevent this, turn off the water supply to your outdoor faucets and turn them on to allow all water to fully drain. This will stop any water left in them from freezing, expanding, bursting, and subsequently flooding your home. For your indoor pipes, surround them with insulation or keep your cabinet doors open to allow the heat from your home to keep them warm. If you do find that your pipes are beginning to freeze, thaw them with a hair dryer (not a flame!). Remember that even water meters can freeze, so a clever solution is lowering a light bulb to thaw the meter so your water can resume. You also must be sure to clear snow from windows, doors, and ceilings to avoid water leaks as the snow melts.
An invisible threat to homeowners is toxic (and perhaps deadly) fumes. If you are using a generator to provide power to your home, keep it outside and at least 20 feet away from your house. These can produce deadly amounts of carbon monoxide. Also use caution when using alternate sources of heat, as the fumes from these can quickly accumulate inside your home. Never use portable gas stoves or grills inside – save them for those summer nights outside! As a general year-round precaution, install carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home since you cannot see the threat of deadly fumes.
For more information on protecting your home from this extreme winter, please contact us today! We would love to help make sure your house is fully protected from all threats, including Mother Nature!