Cold Weather Tips
- During this cold season, remember not to heat your home with your barbeque, charcoal, propane patio heater, or other method intended for the outdoors as they will release carbon monoxide in your home. Generators are also intended for outdoor use only and are unsafe to use indoors.
- Check on elderly relatives and neighbors. Your ability to feel a change in temperature decreases with age, and older people are more susceptible to cold-related injury or illness like frostbite or hypothermia.
- If you have pets, bring them indoors. If you cannot bring them inside, provide them an adequate place to sleep – off the floor and away from all drafts. Make sure that they have access to unfrozen water.
- Recognize the symptoms of hypothermia: confusion, dizziness, exhaustion and severe shivering. Recognize frostbite warning signs: gray, white or yellow skin discoloration, numbness, waxy feeling skin. Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms.
- Dress warmly and in layers – don’t forget the hat and gloves
- Get out of wet clothes immediately and warm the core body temperature with a blanket or warm fluids like hot cider, hot cocoa or soup.
- Dress in several layers of loose-fitting clothing to create pockets of insulating warm air.
- Wear wool or fleece fabrics, not cotton as it dries slowly; warm socks with a thermal sock liner; comfortable, closed shoes; a scarf, hat and earmuffs to prevent loss of body heat; a water repellent, hooded outer garment to add extra protection; and mittens instead of gloves to keep hands warm.
- Walk around or move in place to increase circulation and generate additional body heat.
- Drink warm beverages.
- Do not drink alcohol as it will cause a loss of body heat by dilating blood vessels.
- Do not use the cruise control when there is ice on the road. If the cruise accelerates on ice, you may lose control of the car.
- Let off the accelerator as you approach a bridge.
- Just because you have four-wheel drive and studded snow tires does not mean you can still drive safely at 75 mph on ice.
- Do not run parallel to semis during a snow storm or when driving on ice. Either pass them or stay well behind them.
- Black ice is nearly invisible and will accumulate on bridge overpasses – especially those crossing water.
- Carry some emergency items in your car – flares, blanket, candle, matches, tire chains and a small folding shovel like soldiers carry. They may save your life if you go off a rural country road during winter.
- Never throw hot water on a frosty windshield; it might crack the glass. Use a scraper or start your car early and let the defroster do the job.
- If you take your car through an automatic wash on a freezing day, don’t try to use the power windows until all the water dries up – wind will evaporate the ice as you drive around.
Cold-Weather Plumbing Tips
- As temperatures reach freezing, close all air vents and other openings in the crawl space under your house. (Note: Monitor temperature and open one or two vents in warmer weather for ventilation.)
- In freezing weather, never set your home’s thermostat below 55 degrees.
- Insulate pipes prone to freezing, such as those near an outside wall; those in unheated areas of your home; or any exposed plumbing such as outside faucets.
- In extremely cold weather, leave cabinet doors under sinks open to keep warm air circulating.
- Be sure you know where your master valve is located so you can turn your home’s water off temporarily if a line does break. In most homes, this valve will be located near the water heater, near the clothes washer, or where the water service line enters your home.
- In extreme cold weather, if you are going to be gone for an extended period of time (2 days), it is advisable to shut the master value off.
- Be sure to shut your garage door during cold weather to prevent pipes within the walls from freezing.
- Remove hoses from outside faucets and either buy inexpensive faucet covers or even a towel wrapped around the faucet is better then nothing.
- If you have a bathroom over a garage, never leave the garage door open.
- Remember: When thawing things, slower is better.
- A hair dryer trained at the frozen area of the pipe is appropriate. A blow torch is not. ***This seems to be the most useful tip****
- Pipes warmed too fast may break anyway.
And as a special bonus for all you wood cutting folks I have included chainsaw cold weather tips 🙂
Chainsaws are often called into use during cold and unpleasant conditions. The risk of injury can climb when you combine compromised operator control due to cold and increased stress on the chainsaw itself. Cold and snowy conditions along with wood that can be frozen hard can lead to more rapid wear and increased chance for mechanical failure of the cutting chain. When cutting in cold climates and conditions, follow the tips below to minimize the cold-weather wear and tear on your saw.
- Chain tension. Even metal can shrink and contract in cold weather so it’s very important to have your chain properly adjusted for cold-weather cutting. It may be necessary to check and adjust it more frequently in very cold conditions.
- Cutting teeth. Your chain can only cut as well as it’s sharpened. Keep your cutters sharp and touch them up as often as needed while cutting. Cutting hard and frozen wood will dull your chain quickly. Safe and dependable cutting demands a sharp chain.
- Oil, oil. Cold-weather cutting calls for lighter-weight bar-chain oil. If need be, you can dilute your normal chain oil with 25% kerosene. Make certain that your chain is receiving oil when cutting and oil your chain liberally while cutting in cold weather.
- Bar talk. Keeping your bar groove clean and oil holes open will help insure safe chain operation while cutting. Symmetrical bars should be turned over to guarantee even wear.
- Check your depth. The leading portion of each cutter acts as a depth gauge and regulates the “bite” of the cutting teeth. You should always check and adjust the depth gauges at each chain sharpening.
- Sprocket wear. Watch the wear on your drive sprocket. Drive sprockets generally last for about two chains. Replace sooner if you notice significant wear.