Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather

Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather

Tips to keep your property safe in freezing weather

Print
Email
|

by KVUE.com

kvue.com

Posted on January 23, 2014 at 2:28 PM

Updated Wednesday, Feb 5 at 12:59 PM

AUSTIN -- Freezing temperatures are in the forecast. Austin Water officials and the Austin Fire Department have offered a few tips on how to keep your property safe.

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 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.

Austin Water officials say many people who rent could be responsible for property damage caused by broken pipes. You should contact those in charge of the property for assistance.

For help, call Austin Water's emergency hot line at 512-972-1000. You can also go to their website for more information.

HEATER SAFETY

  • 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.

FIREPLACE SAFETY

  • 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

Print
Email
|
 
Austin Local News Video
More Video