With the extreme snow and cold weather, we have some tips that will hopefully help keep your home and your family from experiencing problems. All the forecasters have been saying for days that this storm will be historic in both the duration of extreme cold temperatures and combined with the amount of snow we will be getting in Oklahoma with several storm systems. We will make every attempt to get to your home if you experience an emergency type of situation regarding heating or plumbing but the roads may be impassible. In that case, you may wish to have a back up plan to stay somewhere else. If you find yourself in a situation where you need to leave your home and go somewhere else because of a heating issue, make sure to shut off the water shutoff valve in the house and at the water meter. If you need help with shutting off the water meter, you might try contacting the water department in your city or municipality.
Please know also, conditions are not safe for going outside for kids, adults or pets. The possibility of frost bite or hypothermia are very real with this type of storm. There are ponds or lakes near some of our communities and they are NOT safe to go near as they have slopes that you could slide on the ice or snow into the pond. The ice on ponds or lakes are also NOT safe to walk on, even if the ice looks thick. Please do not go near these areas.
Here are some tips that we are sharing during the storm:
Total loss of water- This can happen if the lines at the meter or underground freeze. We have already seen several no water calls that have been caused by a water softener and the lines freezing. The lines can freeze and even bust in the garage or if the lines run overhead into the attic. In this case, you will need to call the company that installed the water softener and ask if they can come look at it. If the line going into the home is frozen, plumbers cannot usually do anything to repair this. You can try placing a heat lamp into the water meter hole and then re-covering the meter.
Exhaust Vents- We recommend if the vent goes to the roof, occasionally run each exhaust fan, just one at a time for probably 10 minute increments WHILE it is is snowing. This keeps the snow from packing into the vent, and then melting and dripping into the house. It is a good idea to run the dryer occasionally if the dryer vent also goes to the roof.
Heating in home- Keep all interior doors open to circulate air throughout the home. Also, it is a good idea to open closet doors as well as there are plumbing pipes and water lines in the walls. This can help keep those lines warmer. Make sure the filters are changed so air can circulate better throughout the house.
Geo Thermal- If you have a Geo thermal system, try to turn the temperature down closer to 68-70. This keeps the system from circulating water as often and will help to keep it warmer in the house. The ground temperatures are very cold and if you run it at a higher temperature on the thermostat, it can cause it to bring colder water through the system which will make the house feel cooler.
Dripping Faucets- Drip all interior faucets, sinks, showers, tubs to circulate water through the water lines to prevent freezing. If sink is on an outer wall, please keep cabinet doors open to get warmth to the inside of the cabinet where the water lines are located.
Washing Machine- Use caution when using a washing machine, especially if it is located on an outer wall. Drain lines can also freeze which could cause the pipe to overflow into the house. Monitor as the appliance drains to ensure it is not overflowing.
Heat Cable at furnace- The heat cable at the furnace helps to keep the condensation lines from freezing. This should have an orange light on. If the line doesn’t have an orange light, it is not working. Peel back the clear tape on the box that the cord runs through and hit the reset button. This is plugged in where the heater is plugged in and the reset is similar to the reset that is on a hairdryer.
Windows- Clear snow out of windows and watch for possible melted snow to get into windows. The type of powdery snow we will have can get between the screen and the window and then melt, possibly causing water to get on the wall or window sill.
Blowing Snow- Blowing, powdery snow can possibly infiltrate exhaust vents, eaves, soffit vents and other parts of your roof or attic. Ice Damming can also occur with heavier snow or ice. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of a roof and prevents melting snow or water from draining off the roof. This water can back up behind the dam and leak into a home causing damage to walls and ceilings. With any leak, try to contain water as best as possible to keep it from further damaging the interior of your home. Move furniture or other belongings away from the area to prevent damage.
Exterior Faucets- These can freeze and bust, especially if a hose is left attached and not covered with a styrofoam cover. Do not turn these on during freezing weather. The next time they are used during warmer weather, turn on slowly at first and listen and check for any water coming in at wall or below baseboard or on flooring. If you cannot find a styrofoam cover at the local hardware store, a temporarily solution is to wrap and duct tape the faucet with batted insulation.
-Water Shut off valve- Locate the water shut off valve inside a closet in the home. In some locations, the water shutoff valve is in the mechanical closet. Turn the valve handle 90 degrees sideways to the water pipe if you have a plumbing pipe leaking. If you need to leave the house, if you’ve lost heat for any extended period of time, you should also turn the water supply at the water meter as well. Call city water department for instructions on how to shut off the meter at the street.
Sprinkler System- Make sure if you have a mock rock cover to check the heat tape and make sure it is turned on and running to help keep the lines from freezing. Make sure the GFCI outlet is not tripped. There is a ball valve in the main valve box that should also be turned off.
Even though Ideal Homes cannot warranty severe weather damage, as always we will help you after the storm if you need the phone numbers or names of any of our trades. Please stay safe during the storm.
Ideal Homes Customer Care Team