With winter bearing down on most of north Georgia this week, it’s a great time to make sure you’re ready for cold weather. Winter can be unpredictable as temperatures drop quickly and it is important to remember to protect your home. Burst pipes and the subsequent water damage that follows can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage to your most prized and expensive investment. Please take this opportunity to protect that investment and hopefully to avoid costly water damage. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Disconnect and drain garden hoses.
- Cover outside faucets with insulating foam covers.
- Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.
- Turn off sprinkler system and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them.
- Close or cover foundation vents under house and windows to basements.
- Close garage doors.
- Insulate exposed pipes (both hot and cold) under house with foam pipe insulation.
- Open cabinet doors under sinks.
- Drip hot and cold faucets in kitchen and bath. Drip single control faucets with lever set in middle.
- Set icemaker to make ice if the water line to it runs under the house.
- Don’t forget to check on pipes to your washing machine in the laundry room.
- Locate water main cut-off valve, and have a cut-off key handy.
- Keep the faucet open when thawing frozen pipes to allow water to begin flowing through it.
- After the weather has warmed above freezing and any frozen pipes have thawed, turn off dripping faucets and monitor your water meter to check for unseen leaks.
Too often, winter weather catches us unprepared. Before the storm strikes, make sure your home, office and vehicles have the supplies you might need. Make sure farm animals and pets also have the essentials they will need.
At Home and Work
Primary concerns are loss of heat, power and telephone service and a shortage of supplies if storm conditions continue for more than a day. Have available:
- Flashlight and extra batteries
- Battery-powered NOAA Weather Radio and portable radio to receive emergency information
- Extra food and water such as dried fruit, nuts and granola bars, and other food requiring no cooking or refrigeration.
- Extra prescription medicine
- Baby items such as diapers and formula
- First-aid supplies
- Heating fuel: refuel before you are empty; fuel carriers may not reach you for days after a winter storm
- Emergency heat source: fireplace, wood stove, space heater (properly ventilated to prevent a fire)
- Fire extinguisher, smoke alarm; test smoke alarms once a month to ensure they work properly
On the Farm / Pet Owners
- Move animals to sheltered areas or bring pets inside.
- Haul extra feed to nearby feeding areas.
- Have water available. Most animals die from dehydration in winter storms.
- Make sure pets have plenty of food, water and shelter.
- Plan your travel and check the latest weather reports to avoid hazardous conditions!
- Fully check and winterize your vehicle before the winter season begins.
- Keep your gas tank near full to avoid ice in the tank and fuel lines.
- Avoid traveling alone.
- Let someone know your timetable and primary and alternate routes.