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Extreme Cold Is Coming This Weekend…Are You Ready?

icicles-300x202Freezing temperatures are being forecast for Atlanta this weekend – the wind chill could be as low as 17 degrees! Since this is the first time this year that temperatures have gotten down to potentially dangerous levels of cold, here are some tips for making sure your HVAC and plumbing systems can operate normally and efficiently while dealing with the intense cold.

Some Quick Plumbing Prep Can Head Off Disaster

The last thing you want to be doing on a holiday weekend just days before Christmas is calling R.S. Andrews to fix a pipe that froze, burst and flooded your home with freezing water. Luckily the potential for frozen and burst pipes in extremely cold weather can be effectively mitigated by take a few measures right now, and keeping a close eye on things when the cold hits.

  • If you have a crawlspace, you should make sure any and all vents are closed so that cold air is prevented from entering the crawl area. If the vents don’t close securely, consider attaching foam board insulation to them to cover them.
  • If your house has an attached garage, make sure the garage door is closed as much as possible, especially if your water heater or any other water lines that feed interior fixtures are in the wall between the garage and the house.
  • If you have pipes or fixtures that have a history of freezing, you may want to consider keeping a trickle of running water moving through them, as moving water will not freeze.
  • Opening cabinet doors under the sinks in the kitchen and bathroom can help circulate warm air around pipes there and keep them from freezing.
  • If you’re leaving town for a days, be sure to shut off the water to your house using the main shut-off valve – you should be doing this year round, not just in cold weather, as a broken water line will flood your house at any time of year. Give us a call if you aren’t sure how to find and shut off your house’s main water supply.

Help Your HVAC System Help You Stay Warm

If you’ve been getting regular maintenance performed on your HVAC system by an R.S. Andrews heating technician, your system should be in great shape to handle whatever nature throws at it. There are still some little things you can do to help out your HVAC system if it seems to be struggling to keep you and your family comfortable during extreme cold, however:

  • Instead of cranking the heat way up, try using an electric space heater only in the room you’re occupying. It’s cheap and effective!
  • After using your oven, let it stay open a crack as it cools – it will release plenty of extra heat into the kitchen and the adjacent rooms.

Remember, if you have a heat pump, you may experience issues with getting the interior of your home to exactly the temperature you set your thermostat to reach. This is normal, as heat pumps begin to lose some efficiency at temperatures lower than about 35 degrees. If you find that your heat pump isn’t achieving the desired temperature, you may have to set it to a higher temperature than you normally would to offset the loss of precision temperature control that cold weather can bring about.

Stay warm this weekend, Atlanta, and remember to call R.S. Andrews if you have any questions about protecting your HVAC or plumbing systems during this spell of very cold weather – we’re always happy to help make sure you and your family are nice and cozy for the holidays!

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