Big news in the US is snow and record low temperature. If there’s one thing West Michigan knows, it’s cold, snow and ice. And the northern upper peninsular and west Michigan area gets a special kind of precipitation called “lake effect” snow. Lake effect translates to “monster truck loads full, heaped everywhere, buried under” snow. It’s so iconic that there’s a beer named after it! So all that snow is pretty and good for skiers, but it also causes a plethora of winter safety hazards. Here are winter safety tips to prevent house fires, power outages, frozen pipes, furnace trouble.
To prevent winter safety hazards, don’t set your thermostat too low. Yes turning up the heat costs more, but lowering the thermostat too far can cause super winter safety hazards and furnace trouble galore. Snow can build up in furnace intake and exhaust vents if the heat is set too low. When furnace vents suck in snow, this can cause furnace power outages. The furnace limit switches shut off pilot light. The furnace runs but it doesn’t put out any heat. You don’t want to wake to a 50 degree house when clogged vents trip sensors. It can cause house fires if left unchecked. Use a baby bottle brush to clean snow from vents to prevent furnace trouble.
Frozen pipes are major winter safety hazards. Frozen pipes don’t just occur in mobile homes Plumbing is more exposed under mobile homes and presents a colossal nightmare trying to thaw frozen pipes. Winter safety hazards from frozen pipes include hypothermia for the poor person who has to spend hours in the snow with hair dryers and heat guns thawing frozen pipes. Those implements can cause burns to the user and house fires Frozen pipes can occur in houses too. It gets cold enough in mud rooms that the cat’s water dish will freeze. If that happens, so can frozen pipes. Wrap any metal pipes that are in cold areas with heat tape. Wrap pipes in case of power outages.
Don’t force furnace trouble or power outages making it work too hard to reheat a chilled house. Keep heat to 68-70 in super cold weather. You might even let the water run a little in the bathroom. Run an approved space heater in rooms with no furnace vents. Don’t use the old metal and wire kinds which can cause house fires. Get space heaters with safety shutoff. Check the CPSC website for recalls of space heaters. Shut space heaters off in rooms you’re not using or when you leave. Put rugs in front of doorways and windows. Hang insulated Eclipse style curtain in windows and doorways to prevent heat loss and drafts. Clean dryer vents and filters. Replace furnace filters when they get dirty. Keep all heat sources free of obstruction. Don’t overload circuits to prevent power outages, house fires and furnace trouble.