Extreme cold weather can be hard on both you and your apartment. Here are some tips which will be useful when harsh winter weather hits your area.
How to Deal with Frozen Pipes
- Turn off water to outside faucets, if available, and open valves on faucets to allow them to drain.
- Close garage doors.
- 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.
- Use a hair dryer, heat lamp, electric heat tape, or a portable space heater to thaw frozen pipes that have not burst.
- 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.
How to Maintain Warmth in Your Apartment
- Have your furnace inspected before cold weather arrives. Inspect the heat exchanger for cracks, install a clean air filter, and check the thermostat to see if it’s working properly.
- Keep drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
- Put up storm windows, or install sheet plastic window insulation kits on the inside of windows.
- Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
- Insulate electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals available at home centers.
- Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
- Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
- Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
How to Protect the Outdoor Environment Around Your Apartment
- Clean your gutters and downspouts before cold weather arrives to prevent ice from forming in them.
- Check antifreeze levels in cars. Add if needed, then run the engine to circulate the new antifreeze through the radiator and engine block.
- Add freeze resistant windshield wiper fluid, and spay to circulate it in lines.
- Check air pressure in tires, since cold weather causes the pressure to lower.
- Bring in container plants, add mulch around plants, and cover plants that are prone to frost damage. Remove covering when temperatures warm above freezing.
- Gently sweep snow off plants and shrubs in an upward motion with a broom.
- Use rock salt, sand, or clay based kitty litter on walks and drives (NOTE: Salt can damage grass and other plants).
- Don’t overdo it when using a snow shovel.
How to Stay Safe in Dangerous Winter Weather
- Stockpile nonperishable food and water.
- Have prescription medications filled in advance of storm.
- Fill car with gas.
- Make sure cell phones are fully charged.
- Have flashlights, batteries, a weather radio, and a manual can opener on hand.
- Make sure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide alarms and the batteries powering them are fresh.
- Have a working fire extinguisher on hand for emergencies.