Cold air coming, so prep your home now

The first hard freeze of the season is on its way. The National Weather Service predicts temperatures ranging from the 30s to the teens around the Northwest.
   Even the Puget Sound lowlands and Portland area could see sub-freezing nights through Wednesday. Temperatures will remain generally cold throughout the week, with gusty winds also forecast around the Cascade foothills.
   Act now if you haven't prepared your home for cold weather. Here are five things you can do right now, in less than an hour:

  1. Disconnect your garden hoses and cover your outdoor faucets. If you don’t, water that’s trapped in the pipe can freeze, expand, and burst the pipe. After disconnecting the hose, cover your faucets with Styrofoam™ protectors available at any hardware store. Even wrapping your faucet with a dry rag or hand towel will help.
  2. Open cabinet doors under sinks located near outside walls. Outside walls are the coldest part of your house, and leaving under-sink doors open will allow warm air from inside the house to circulate, keeping pipes warm. Keep the heat set no lower than 55 degrees, even if you won’t be home.
  3. Clear steps and porches of ice. Swing by a hardware store and pick up de-icing granules that won’t discolor cement and sprinkle them according to package directions. You could save yourself or a neighbor from a nasty fall.
  4. Keep barbecues and generators OUTSIDE to reduce the risk of carbon-monoxide poisoning.
  5. Test your car’s coolant if you think it’s mostly water. If you’ve been topping off your car’s coolant reservoir with water instead of antifreeze, it may be too diluted to protect your engine when the mercury plummets. You can pick up a relatively inexpensive and easy-to-use antifreeze tester at auto supply stores to learn the temperature at which your protection ends.

by  Jon Osterberg

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