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Frigid Weather: How To Survive An Extremely Cold Day

An article from CBC News

Protecting your home

Houses are built to withstand many conditions, but can be vulnerable to extreme cold in particular aspects, such as plumbing. Frozen pipes bursting after the recent ice storm in southern Ontario were a vivid reminder of that.

Pete Karageorgos, manager of consumer and industry relations for the Insurance Bureau of Canada in Ontario, says there are many things homeowners can consider — “unfortunately, some of them should have been done before winter started.”

That could include ensuring the home is property insulated, particularly in two areas: anywhere related to the plumbing system and outside walls, and around the roof, particularly close to the edge, where the eavestroughs are.

Right now, though, Karageorgos has a few hints for what homeowners can do to a make their home safer:

Keep the furnace well-maintained. That way it can bear the extra burden when it’s much colder outside.

Remove snow and ice from outside the home. It’s a plus from both the personal safety and legal liability perspectives.

To prevent frozen pipes, turn off the water supply and drain the pipes if you’re going to be away.

Don’t use heat sources like torches or open flames to try to thaw frozen pipes – use a hair dryer instead.

Have working fire and carbon monoxide detectors. If they are hardwired into the electrical system, make sure the battery backup is working.

If you’re at home, and unsure if your insulation is adequate to offset frozen pipes, a small, steady flow of water could help prevent freezing.

“Keep a tap or two turned on. Not full blast but enough so some water is flowing through it, because that’s the other way to prevent pipes from freezing,” says Karageorgos.