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Water expands when it freezes and can shatter pipe seals or the pipes themselves, sending water pouring through your house if ice forms. You can avoid thousands of dollars of damage to your home by taking a few simple measures to protect your home:
Stay indoors, dress warmly and use safe heating sources.
Drink plenty of non-alcoholic fluids and eat high-caloric foods.
Dress warmly. Wear loose-fitting, layered, lightweight clothing. Layers can be removed to prevent perspiration and chill. Outer garments should be tightly woven and water repellent. Mittens are warmer than gloves because fingers generate warmth when they touch each other.
Do not leave pets out in the cold!
Bring all pets indoors and make sure they have a warm blanket to lie on, as well as plenty of food and water. Bring into a garage, takeing care to make sure toxins, such as antifreeze and bleach, are out of their reach.
Water your plants thoroughly. The water will act as an insulator. Dry plants are more susceptible to freezing.
After watering, cover plants with a breathable material, such as fanric not plastic.
Place mulch at the base of your plants and do not prune prior to a freeze. Pruning encourages soft growth, which is susceptible to freezing. Spraying the leaves of plants with liquid seaweed will also toughen them against cold.
Practice Fire Safety
Use extra care with supplemental heating units.
Make sure that all-combustible materials such as drapes or chairs are at least three feet away from any heating unit.
Avoid using flammable liquids to start fireplaces and do not leave a fireplace unattended.
Most importantly, check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they are working properly.
Safety Tips for Carbon Monoxide
Install carbon monoxide detectors. Have appliances using combustible fuels installed by a professional and checked at least once a year for proper ventilation.
Never run your car in the garage with the garage door closed.
Check your vehicles for exhaust leaks.
Never use a gas range to heat your home.
Never burn charcoal in an unventilated area.
Never adjust your own pilot light.
Check chimneys and flues for proper ventilation.
If Pipes Freeze
Turn off the water at the shut-off valve and call a plumber for help.
Do not use lamps or electrical appliances to thaw frozen pipes. Leaking water from thawing pipes could cause a short and you can be electrocuted.
If you try to thaw your own pipes, apply heat slowly, and move the heat toward the coldest spot on the pipe. Never concentrate heat in one spot - cracking ice can shatter a pipe.
If You Have a Loss
Contact your insurance agent or company promptly. Follow as soon as possible with a written claim to protect your rights.
Review your coverage. Homeowners and renters policies pay for property repair. In addition, they pay for debris removal and for temporary additional living expenses if you have to move.
If you can not find your policy, ask your agent or company for a copy.
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