Tips for Preventing Frozen Pipes

On average, an approximate quarter-million homes and offices have at least one room damaged by a frozen pipe per year. In order to ensure your home stays safe and your pipes don’t freeze, remember these three easy steps:

#1: FOAM

#2: DOME

#3: DRIP

FOAM: Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts. For as little as $1 per 6’ of insulation, you can stop pipes from freezing and save energy. By keeping your water warmer, you reduce the amount of energy needed to heat water in the cold, winter months.

DOME: Place an insulating dome or other coverings on outdoor faucets and spigots to reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing, expanding and causing a costly leak.

DRIP: Allow a slow drip from your faucets to reduce the buildup of pressure in the pipes. Even if the pipes freeze, the released pressure in the water system will reduce the likelihood of a rupture. If you are going out of town and suspect the temperature will drop, turn off the water and open all of the taps to drain the water system. This way pipes won’t freeze and you won’t return home to a mess.

Your local home improvement store will have all of the tools and expertise you will need to complete these steps. FOAM, DOME, DRIP your way to a safe winter season free of costly home repairs!

These and other winter preparedness tips are available from the FLASH Great Winter Weather Party, a fun, new family-friendly website and social media campaign, presented by FLASH, aimed at better preparing families and their homes for winter weather hazards. Visit www.greatwinterweatherparty.org for more information.

Protect Your Home and Family During Severe Winter Weather with Standby Power

This is a guest blog post by FLASH partner Kohler Power Systems.

Power outages are a particular risk during winter especially if you live in a climate that is consistently very cold and plagued with severe winter weather. Ice storms, blizzards and heavy snow often result in power outages that can last for several days. When it is cold outside and it is too dangerous to travel away from your home, it becomes increasingly important to make sure that you have heat inside.

An automatic standby generator can keep key systems running to protect your home and your family.

Standby generators provide many benefits, such as:

  •  Providing heat to keep your family warm and comfortable
  •  Keeping pipes from freezing and causing water damage by powering the heat throughout your home
  •  Maintaining communications systems to stay informed of updates on the weather, friends and family and travel/safety conditions
  •  Ensuring that sump pumps are protecting the basement from flooding/water damage in case large amounts of snow begin to melt
  •  Preserving your family’s food and fresh water by powering the refrigerator and well pump
  •  Supporting well pumps for running water to flush the toilet
  •  Automatically starting and stopping in response to outages to protect your home, even if you are not there
  •  In some models, allowing you to manage your home generator from your computer and receive status updates on your mobile phone.

A permanently installed standby generator, which remains outside the home and runs on an existing fuel source (natural gas or liquid propane [LP]), ensures that your family and home will weather prolonged power outages throughout the winter season by keeping the heat, lights and other equipment powered when utility electricity is lost. Standby generators are capable of generating enough wattage to power your entire home, and they automatically restore power within seconds of an outage.

Work with a licensed contractor to size, purchase and install your standby generator system, and notify your local power company that you have a back-up system in place. To learn more, visit KohlerSmartPower.com or facebook.com/kohlergenerators.

You canwin a Kohler automatic standby generator as a part of the Great Winter Weather Party! Visit today for your chance to win.

FLASH Offers Tips on Safe Use of Space Heaters As Temperatures Drop

It finally feels like winter and, as cold winter weather sets in across the country, many families are using portable space heaters to keep warm.  Because more than half of all fire-related deaths result from items catching fire when placed too closely to heat sources like portable space heaters, the Federal Alliance for Safe Homes (FLASH) has compiled these life-saving tips for preventing house fires resulting from the use of portable space heaters.

Electric Portable Space Heaters

  • Read the Labels
    • Purchase a space heater with modern safety features such as an automatic shut off in the event the heater is tipped or turned over.
    • Buy only electric portable space heaters that have been tested and labeled by a nationally recognized testing company such as Underwriter’s Laboratories (UL).
  • Location, Location, Location
    • Keep the heater at least three feet away from drapes, furniture or other flammable materials.
    • Place the heater on a level surface away from areas where someone might bump into it and knock it over. Be mindful of keeping children and pets away from the heater.
    • Place electric space heaters only in areas where they can be plugged directly into the wall outlet. If an extension cord must be used, make sure it is a heavy-duty cord marked with a power rating at least as high as that on the label of the heater itself.
    • Keep electric heaters away from water. Never use them near a sink or in the bathroom.
    • Never leave a space heater unattended or running while sleeping.

Gas-Fueled Portable Space Heaters

  • Carefully follow the manufacturer’s fueling instructions using only the approved fuel. Never use gasoline. Never fuel a heater that is still hot. Do not overfill the heater; allow for the expansion of the liquid. Only use approved containers that are clearly marked for that particular fuel and store them outdoors.
  • Have vented space heaters professionally inspected every year. If the heater is not vented properly, not vented at all, or if the vent is blocked, separated, rusted, or corroded, dangerous levels of carbon monoxide (CO) can enter the home causing sickness and/or death. CO also can be produced if the heater is not properly set up and adjusted for the type of fuel used and the altitude of the home in which it is installed.

These and more valuable winter preparedness tips are available from the FLASH Great Winter Weather Party, a fun, new family-friendly website and social media campaign aimed at better preparing families and their homes for winter weather hazards. Visit www.greatwinterweatherparty.org for more information.