Staying warm; staying safe during winter storms | Hopelink Hopelink

Staying warm; staying safe during winter storms

Staying warm; staying safe during winter storms

Water pipes:

Locate and insulate pipes that would be most likely to freeze. These would be pipes near outer walls, in crawl spaces, or in attics. You can find foam insulation wrap at most home improvement stores (Home Depot, Lowe’s).

Seal any leaks that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.

Turn off the water supply to your outside taps and drain the water supply lines leading to them. Disconnect garden hoses as well.

Make sure you and your family know how to shut off the water, in case pipes burst.

Doors and windows:

Check for leaks or drafts around doors and windows. Caulk and weather strip any holes you find. Make sure doors seal properly.

Covering windows with plastic or blankets can help reduce drafts. You can get window insulation kits at Fred Meyer or any hardware store.

How to Install Window Insulation Kits

Window insulation kits are great for keeping your home warm and saving money. Follow the steps below to make sure the windows are covered efficiently.

Clean the window and window frame. This will make it so the take stays on the window frame.

Cut the plastic in the window kit to the size of the window. Leave 1 inch extra on all sides.

Apply the double-sided tape to the frame of the window (on all sides). Then take off the paper backing on the top side of the tape.

Put up plastic film, starting at the top of the window. Attach the plastic to the tape on all sides, keeping the plastic stretched firmly.

Use a blow dryer to get out the wrinkles on the plastic. Do not touch the blow dryer to the plastic.


If you have a furnace, have it professionally serviced. This includes cleaning and checking the supply lines, furnace ducts, filters and thermostat.

Replace furnace filters monthly. When you do this, your furnace doesn’t have to work as hard and will use less energy.


Clean out ash and debris from the fireplace.

Make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Also, make sure the damper is closed when you aren’t using the fireplace.

Cap or screen the top of the chimney (if applicable) to keep out rodents and birds.

Additional tips for keeping your home warm:

Insulate walls and attics.

Clean and remove dust from vents or along baseboard heaters. This will keep them running more efficiently.

Make sure heating vents aren’t blocked by furniture or other items. Also, keeping vents open will help air circulate better.

Seal and repair heating ducts with mastic or metal tape (don’t use duct tape; it doesn’t last long), and straighten any tangled ducts. For ducts in unfinished areas, make sure to insulate with either a special duct coating, or special duct wrap. Also, pay close attention to where ductwork meets vents and registers, as these are often places where ductwork can be damaged.

To help distribute heat in your home, you can reverse the switch on your ceiling fans. Reversing the fan’s direction will move air upward, and the air will then be forced back down into the room.

Use pre-cut foam gaskets to prevent leaks behind electric wall plugs and switches.

Winter time in the Northwest often brings a lot of wind and rain, which can cause power outages. Here are some quick tips for keeping your family safe during a power outage.

Before a power outage

  • Register with your utility company any life sustaining medical equipment.
  • Make a kit that has flashlights, a battery-powered radio with extra batteries and a wind-up clock.
  • Try to reduce heat and conserve fuel. Never burn charcoal or use a generator indoors.

During a power outage

  • Turn off lights and electrical appliances except for the refrigerator and freezer.
  • Turn off light switches, lamps and appliances, even if it is dark.
  • Unplug computers and other sensitive equipment so they aren’t damaged by any power surges that could occur.
  • Leave one lamp on so you will know when power is restored. Wait at least 15 minutes after power is restored before turning on other appliances.
  • Conserve water, especially if you use well water.
  • Never use stoves, gas ranges, barbecues or propane heaters for indoor heating—they use oxygen and can cause carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Candles can cause a fire. It's better to use battery-operated flashlights for lighting.
  • Stay away from downed power lines and sagging trees with broken limbs.

Food safety

  • It is best to have a supply of canned food and food that doesn’t need to be refrigerated or frozen (nuts, dried fruit, crackers, cereal).
  • If you must use refrigerated food, use foods first that can spoil most rapidly.
  • Keep doors to refrigerators and freezers closed. Your refrigerator's freezer will keep food frozen for up to a day.
  • If in doubt, throw it out. Throw out meat, seafood, dairy products and cooked food that does not feel cold.
  • Never taste food if you are unsure about whether it’s OK to eat. Even if food looks and smells fine, illness-causing bacteria may be present.


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