Freezing weather isn’t just an inconvenience; it also poses a risk for your home, your car, and your health. The weather forecast for many areas in Michigan this week is negative temps in the double digits. While Michiganders are used to crazy weather, this forecast is a bit more extreme. We recommend taking these necessary precautions to stay safe and warm both in your home and outside.
Protect Your Home from Extreme Weather
Make sure your furnace is running properly and efficiently. Remember, your furnace is going to have to work harder than normal to heat your home when temps drop below zero. You can do a few simple tasks to make sure it doesn’t have to work even harder than it already needs to. If it’s been a while since you changed your air filter, replace it before freezing temps hit so air can flow easily through your system without any blockage. Avoid cranking the heat up too much more. Instead, consider wearing more layers, wrapping up in blankets, and using heaters. If anything does happen to your furnace during days of sub-zero temps, remember that we have 24-hour emergency services. Our HVAC experts are always ready to take your call, answer your questions, and help any way they can.
Insulate your home by sealing cracks and gaps in windows and doors with caulk, weather stripping, and door sweeps. Hang thermal curtains and apply plastic sheeting to your windows to reduce heat transfer.
Frozen water expands. This is what causes pipes to burst in freezing temperatures. To prevent this from happening, wrap your pipes in foam pipe insulation. If you do have a frozen pipe, open the valve first, then thaw it using a blow dryer or machine specifically made to thaw pipes.
If you are going to be out of town, ask friends, neighbors, or family members to check in on the home to make sure the heat is working and your pipes are intact. They’ll also be able to spot any problems before they happen.
Protect Your Car from Freezing Temps
Freezing temps can affect your car in different ways. For one, they can cause fuel lines to freeze, so keep your tank at least half full. Check your other fluids as well, including antifreeze and wiper fluid, and fill up if you’re low. Keep an eye on your tires, too, as cold air can reduce the air in your tires. Freezing temps can cause car batteries to die, so carry jumper cables in your trunk just in case.
And speaking of items to keep in your car, fill your trunk with such cold-weather emergency items as blankets, insulated gloves, boots, and hand warmers to keep you warm if you break down. Store a couple of bags of kitty litter in your trunk to weigh the back of your car down and create traction if you get stuck in icy ruts.
While there are plenty of items to keep in your car during cold weather, there are also plenty of items you shouldn’t leave in your car. Remove any canned liquids, like soda cans, so they don’t explode in your car. You’ll also want to take any electronics, including cell phones, laptops, and iPads inside so the cold doesn’t cause them to malfunction. Cold temperatures can also cause wood to shrink and crack, so protect musical instruments by taking them out of your car as well. And never, NEVER, leave pets in the car for any given time in dangerous temps.
Protect Your Body in Extreme Cold
We recommend staying indoors during this time, but if you must go outside, avoid exposing any area of your skin to the elements. In such extreme conditions, frostbite can occur in under 20 minutes. Cover as much skin as you can. That means wearing hats, gloves, scarves, and even face masks. We also suggest dressing in layers, including thermal underwear. Make sure the top layer is wind resistant, which helps with wind chill.
Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia. Frostbite symptoms include white or yellow skin that is waxy or hard to the touch and numbness, swelling, and tingling to the affected area. When it comes to hypothermia, one may experience extreme shivering, confusion, slurred speech drowsiness, loss of coordination, or a weak pulse.
Get Help When You Need It
As Michiganders, we pride ourselves on our ability to handle cold weather. But negative temps are dangerous for even the toughest people. If you need help with your heating, give us a call at 586-480-5060. Before the extreme weather hits, get the numbers of the nearest doctor or hospital, local plumber, and your insurance agent. When the cold weather hits, consider the health and safety of others as well. Share these tips with your loved ones and make sure they are prepared too.