Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather

Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather


Near-freezing temperatures are in the forecast for Sunday. Here are a few tips on how to keep your property safe in freezing weather to avoid frozen or broken water pipes.

Before the weather freezes, you should:

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in un-heated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6″ metal lid.
  • Turn off irrigation systems during the winter months to protect pipes and conserve water.

When the weather freezes:

  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures.
  • If temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours, drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather for when you are not at home:

  • Shut water off at the property owner’s cut-off valve.
  • Drain all outside water faucets if your house will be unoccupied for several days (leave outside faucets open).
  • Leave home heating system on at a low setting.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.


  • Have a professional inspect and service your central heating unit each year.
  • Keep the area around the central heating units clear and clean filters regularly.
  • “Space heaters need space.” Heaters should be at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including the walls, curtains, and bedding.
  • Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or when you go to sleep.
  • Electrical and kerosene heaters should be equipped with a cutoff device that will automatically shut off if the unit is tipped over or overheats.
  • Make sure electric or kerosene heaters have the “UL” approval seal.
  • Check electric space heaters for frayed or splitting wires. Have all problems repaired by a professional before operating.
  • Kerosene and natural gas heaters should not be used in an enclosed area unless the area is vented or a window is partially opened to let fresh air in. This prevents the possible buildup of carbon monoxide. If you choose to install carbon monoxide detectors, choose models that are UL-listed, with a digital readout. Follow manufacturer’s directions for proper placement.
  • Keep children and pets away from space heaters.
  • Never use heater/AC or water heater closets for storage.


  • Make certain to open the flue in the fireplace before lighting a fire.
  • Only burn hardwoods such as oak, maple, or ash in fireplaces. If synthetic logs are used, burn only one log at a time. Due to their construction, these logs produce a hotter fire than most firewood.
  • Never use lighter fluid, gasoline, or other flammable liquids to start or enhance a fire.
  • Do not burn paper (Including newspaper and giftwrap), Christmas trees or any holiday greenery in a fireplace.
  • Chimneys should be professionally inspected each year and cleaned after burning approximately one cord of wood.
  • Use a metal fireplace screen to prevent sparks from flying out.
  • Make sure fires are out before going to bed or leaving the house.
  • Keep children away from the fireplace at all times.
  • Avoid wearing loose, flowing clothing near a fire.
  • Always cool the ashes before taking them out of the fireplace. Place the ashes in a metal container and allow them to sit for several days or wet down thoroughly before putting them into a trash container or dumpster.
  • Use a spark arrestor, which is a metal screen that covers the top of the chimney and prevents sparks from escaping. (It also will prevent birds from building nests in the chimney

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