It's one degree this morning… 1°, and even that is warmer than some places around the country right now. We are seeing record-breaking low temperatures across the US. I even saw a Facebook post of the cold coming through light switch sockets, that's how cold, dang, that's cold! People are freezing, animals are frozen, and in some states, a state of emergency has been ordered. People have been asked to stay inside and try to stay as warm as possible, so what do you do to protect your home once it's already this cold?
Well, it might be even difficult to go outside now, but if you can still go outside, make sure you've disconnected and drained all of your garden hoses. If you haven't done that so far, chances are the water in them will freeze and crack the hose.
Turn off all sprinkler systems and blow compressed air through the lines to drain them. Cover any foundation vents under your house, across windows, and accesses to basements and attics.
Keep your garage doors closed and seal up around pedestrian garage doors and pet doors.
Set a single, slow drip for hot and cold faucets in the kitchens and bathrooms.
Make sure the icemaker is set to make ice in your refrigerator if the water line to it runs under the house to keep it flowing.
Make sure you know where the main water cutoff valve is and have a key handy in case temperatures dip too low.
Use a hair dryer or heat lamp or even electrical heat tape to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst yet.
Make sure your fireplace and chimney is clean before using it to prevent any chimney fires.
Keep blinds and curtains closed except when the windows are in direct sunlight.
Install plastic sheeting and window installation kits on the inside of windows and cover or remove any window air conditioners.
Insulate electrical outlets and switches with foam seals.
Call any cracks or holes around windows, doors, and vents.
Put draft snakes along windowsills, between door frames, and against doors both in your garage and interior doors.
Make sure you have a full propane tank or plenty of fuel on hand for heating your home.
Check anti-freeze levels and cars and don't forget to run the engine to circulate new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
Cold weather can cause your tire pressure to lower so make sure you check it often.
Drain any bird baths, hummingbird feeders, or fountains.
Make sure you have stockpiled nonperishable food and water in case your power goes out.
Keep cell phones charged, cars filled with gas, and prescriptions refilled. Always have an emergency kit with flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and even a portable generator if possible.
Staying warm in this weather is practically impossible but when we do get a little bit of a warm snap, do these things as quickly as possible to prepare yourself for the rest of winter. I hear we're not out of the woods yet.