Are you prepared for harsh winter temperatures? NBC reports that, during the polar vortex earlier this month, temperatures reached extreme lows that most U.S. cities had not seen for two decades. Inadequate preparations for extreme cold can leave homes with burst pipes, floods, and no electricity or power. Here’s how to carefully prepare for frigid conditions:
Wrap Pipes and Electrical Wiring in Attics, Basements, and Garages
Use pipe wrap, heat tape, or foam insulation to wrap pipes and prevent freezing. (Frozen pipes can — and often will — burst.) Read safety instructions before using pipe wrap or insulation. If you have adequate electrical connections, you can use heat tape — a wire that senses exposed pipes’ temperatures and keeps it at a preset minimum. Heat tape needs to be connected to a thermostat and electrical power source at all times, WikiHow states.
Although pipes may pose greater hazards, leaving electrical wiring exposed during the winter can also be costly and dangerous. Small animals, such as rodents, are likely to seek shelter indoors during the extreme cold. They are most likely to find refuge in attics, basements, and garages. Protect this wiring using conduit. Conduit, or flexible or rigid tubing, shields cables from rain, snow, ice, and small animals’ teeth. Protect electrical wiring using metal conduit and conduit bushing. Conduit bushing keeps wires from tearing or fraying on sharp metal pieces. Run wiring up poles (or along the walls) and secure it with cable ties to keep electrical cords off the floor.
Prevent Collapsing and Flooding From Snow Accumulation
It is often impractical and unsafe to get up on a ladder and remove snow from your roof. Even so, snow accumulation — and resulting collapsing and flooding — can seriously damage your home. Keep attics and upper level rooms well-ventilated and well-heated. This will ensure that snow melts and drains, instead of dangerously piling up on your roof. Prepare attic and basement electrical cords should a flood occur. Practice careful wire management using cable glands, conduit, conduit bushing, and cable ties.
Winter-proofing homes is not simple. Frozen pipes and snow accumulation cause flooding and can permanently damage homes. Carefully wrap pipes, cover electrical cords, and prevent snow accumulation on roofs.