It’s bitterly, bitterly cold here in East Tennessee—all up and down the Eastern United States, in fact—and a lot of us here just weren’t prepared for it! It’s been down in the single-digits multiple times in the past week. We have to admit, this kind of slap-you-in-the-face cold weather has been known to blow in from time to time around here, but we got mighty used to warmer winters. Maybe not tropical winter weather, but you know, around 30 degrees or so for a cold day.
Water pipes are freezing faster than we can shout, “Good Golly, that’s frosty!” Electric heat pumps are failing for some, and others are in danger of starting a house fire with unsafe heating practices. We thought it was a good time to think about some winter fire safety tips. Read on:
One of the best gadgets for keeping water pipes from freezing is heat tape. It’s available at your local home improvement or hardware store. You just wrap it around your pipes where they’re likely to freeze, and plug it in. The sensors can tell when your water gets down below 40 degrees, and the heating elements in the tape kick on to keep that liquid flowing.
WARNING: Do not allow your heat tape to overlap! This is a common cause for house fires in the winter!
Space Heater Safety
Space heaters are a God-send when it’s so cold your central heat can’t quite keep up. Some people use them in garages or other uninsulated areas to help other appliances stay above freezing. Others use them to keep their toes warm. However you choose to use them, keep these things in mind:
Don’t leave them running when nobody is around. It’s too easy for a heater malfunction to cause a fire. Also, keep anything flammable, or anything at all, really, far away from the heating unit. All too often people get complacent about this rule, and start a winter house fire!
With all the extra heating methods we’re using to keep warm, carbon monoxide poisoning is a real danger. If you’re using gas, coal or oil-burning appliances, then be even more vigilant of this life-threatening danger! Install and maintain carbon monoxide detectors. Many smoke detectors already have built-in carbon monoxide sensors.
Don’t ever use grilling charcoal indoors, and check to make sure your fuel-burning appliance is actually meant for indoor use.
Stay safe while you’re staying warm, and check out these fire safety tips for more information.
The upside to all this arctic weather? According to NPR, the sub-freezing temperatures are helping to kill of the harmful hemlock beetle, which has been killing our forests’ beneficial hemlock trees. We’re hoping the cold season will knock back the mosquito population for 2018, too! After all, we haven’t seen a single mosquito outside lately. We suppose that’s another benefit to all this cold!
Even though it’s cold, we’re still happy to help you search for your next home here in East Tennessee! So check out DarleneReeves-Kline.com before you put on those Cuddle Duds and head out to tour your dream house!