Is it really time for the holidays already? It sure feels like it here in the Willamette Valley, where we saw one of our heaviest snowfalls on record over the weekend. In places where the weather is normally mild, a sudden snowstorm can, at the best of times, be pretty inconvenient – and at the worst of times it can be downright dangerous. Since your comfort and safety are our highest priorities here at Home Comfort, we’d like to share a few tips for staying cozy and safe during a sudden cold snap.
- Protect your pipes: We’ve talked before of the preventative benefits of insulating your water supply lines, but whether you’ve had them insulated or not, you can help protect them against damage during freezing weather. When the temperature dips below freezing, remember to turn on the faucets in your home ever so slightly, so that only a small, tepid drip is coming from the spout. This keeps water moving through the pipes and protects them against freezing. Simply having to thaw your pipes can be time consuming and pricey, and having to replace a burst pipe can be even spendier than that!
- Drive wisely: Carry chains for your tires, and use four-wheel-drive if your vehicle has it. If you don’t have chains or four-wheel drive, ask yourself, “Is this an emergency?” If it isn’t, it may be safer to stay home until the roads are clear. Never drive in adverse weather conditions if you are uncomfortable doing so! Last Friday, when the Eugene/Springfield area saw a record-breaking snowfall, more than two hundred car accidents were reported in a twenty-four hour period. Don’t forget that there are lots of ways to get around without driving while the roads are icy and dangerous. Carpool with a friend or neighbor who owns a snow-ready vehicle. Take advantage of public transportation. If you need groceries or toiletries, consider bundling up and walking to the corner market instead of driving to your favorite supermarket across town. There are plenty of alternative transportation choices available; while it may be inconvenient for a few days, protecting yourself and your vehicle from unnecessary damage will make life easier long after the snow has melted.
- Prepare for power-outages: A heavy snowfall can quickly and easily damage a power line. When the power goes out during a winter storm, it is important to be prepared to be without electricity for an indefinite period of time. Stock your pantry with non-perishable foods and bottled water. Keep a well-stocked first aid kit, flashlights, candles, and extra batteries handy in an easily accessible location. Keeping a battery-powered radio and extra blankets on hand is a good idea, too!
- Care for your HVAC system: It’s never good when your heating system breaks down, but it’s especially bad when it breaks down during the coldest part of the year. At Home Comfort, we can’t stress enough just how important it is to have a mechanical contractor perform routine maintenance for your HVAC system. A technician can spot a damaged or worn component during maintenance and perform a minor repair before it becomes a major problem. Remember, your system works its hardest during periods of extreme weather. If you keep your system operating at peak performance, a major breakdown is less likely to occur just when you need it the most.
Here’s to a warm and cozy winter! Happy holidays from all of us at Home Comfort.
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