The Polar Vortex has arrived! Don’t even bother putting on your hat and gloves, this isn’t sledding weather. THIS is sitting by the fire, having fondue, and binge-watching your favorite fantasy drama series that involves almost larger-than-life characters and dragons weather.
While you focus on warming your soul these next couple days, make sure your focus also involves warming your home. Whether you have an apartment, single family home, or barn – you need to protect them!
So, before you cuddle up with a good book (or the rest of my blog posts), execute the following checklist to ensure you enjoy a snow day and not endure a nightmare:
1. Open your sink cabinets. Stand up, walk over to your sink cabinets, and open the doors. This will allow heat to travel around the plumbing piping.
2. Drip your sinks. Leave your HOT AND COLD water faucets on a drip to keep the water flowing through the pipes.
3. Open your utility closet. Are your sink cabinets open? Are the faucets dripping? Great, now walk over to your utility closet and open the door. Same concept.
4. Raise the temperature. Now, walk to your thermostat and turn it up 4 degrees above your normal setting. If your thermostat is on Setback mode, change it to HOLD mode. Have radiators? Open up all the temperature valves to max or just below max.
5. Clean house. Make sure all of your HVAC vents and radiators are not blocked by anything (such as boxes or furniture). Keep them clear so they can work efficiently.
6. Clean your exhaust. If your exhaust pipes are located on the side of your house, walk over to them and make sure they are clear of ice. Your exhaust pipes will be two (2) white PVC pipes sticking out from the house. If yours are on the roof, DO NOT GO ON THE ROOF. Let’s say that again: DO NOT GO ON THE ROOF. Also, check your dryer exhaust and make sure it’s clear of lint so the lint doesn’t freeze.
7. Change your filters. Change your furnace filters. Even if you just did it, humor yourself! Do it again! It’s a POLAR VORTEX!
8. Stay home. Keep your garage door and exterior doors closed.
9. Treat your windows. If your windows are not properly insulated or you feel cold air through your closed windows, make sure they are locked and place towels along the bottom of the windows.
10. Flush your toilets. Twice per day. All the toilets.
Now, if this blog is too-little-too-late for you, here are some other words of advice:
IF YOUR PIPES HAVE FROZEN: Go ahead and panic – while you are running around like a chicken with your head cut off – find your water main valve and TURN OFF YOUR WATER. Then, turn on all of your faucets. This will drain the system. You may also need some buckets, some liquor, and a few choice phrases to keep you company.
IF YOUR HOUSE IS COLD: Check and make sure your furnace is on – if it’s not, call a professional immediately and start calling your friends for a slumber party at their house.
If your furnace IS on, KEEP IT ON. Make sure it keeps operating. There’s likely nothing you can do until the temperature rises. Heating systems in the midwest are not built to overcome -20 to -50 degree temperatures. Most of us did not intend to live in Siberia when we moved into Chicagoland. Try boiling water on the stovetop, putting bowls of water on top of the radiators, and slow cooking a meal like stew. This should increase the humidity and heat in the house.
That’s all I got folks – remember: checklist before Blacklist, be wary before Madam Secretary, protect frigid zones before Game of Thrones!
After all, winter is coming…
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