Home Winter Preparation & Safety Tips

Home Winter Preparation & Safety Tips

Winter Home Safety Before Cold Weather

  • Disconnect garden hoses and shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing in the short span of pipe just inside the house.
  • Locate and insulate pipes most susceptible to freezing: typically those near or inside outer/exterior walls, in crawl spaces or in the attic.
  • Wrap pipes with heat tape (UL approved).
  • Seal any leaks and openings that allow cold air inside where pipes are located.

Winter Home Safety When the Weather is Predicted to be below 32 degrees

  • Make sure central heat systems are left on and set no lower than 55 degrees.  If you will not be staying at the residence or building, make sure you have someone check your house daily to make sure the heat is still on to prevent freezing.  If you cannot be present, the water should drain and shut off the water in your home.  Here is a video to show this process: Click here
  • Make sure you and your family know how to shut off the water in the event that a pipe bursts. Stopping the water flow will minimize the damage to your home.
  • Let hot and cold water trickle at night from any faucet that is in a room where the pipes are in an outside/exterior wall.
  • To help prevent freezing pipes, turn on faucets slightly. Running water will not freeze as quickly.

Protecting Water Pipes from Freezing

To help prevent frozen water pipes in your home or business – follow the simple steps below for suggested tips for Winter Home Safety:

  • Wrap pipes in insulation or layers of old newspapers
  • Cover the newspapers with plastic to keep out moisture
  • Let faucets drip a little to avoid freezing
  • Open cabinet doors to allow heat to get to any un-insulated pipes under a sink or appliance near an outer wall.

  • Know where and how to shut off water valves to your home

If Your Pipes Freeze

  • Always be careful of the potential for electric shock in and around standing water. 
  • Call a plumber and contact your insurance agent.
  • Never try to thaw a pipe with an open flame or torch.

Winter Home Safety If You Lose Electric Service During Winter Months

  • Call your Utility Company to report the downed service and determine area repair schedules. 
  • Turn off or unplug lights and appliances to prevent a circuit overload when service is restored. Leave one light on to indicate power has been restored.
  • Make sure fuel space heaters are used with proper ventilation.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible to help reduce the chance of your food spoiling.  Plan what you need to get out before you open the doors.
  • Protect yourself from carbon monoxide poisoning:
  1. Do not operate generators indoors.
  2. Do not use charcoal to cook indoors. 
  3. Do not use your gas oven to heat your home.

Fire Safety

Wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, and Space Heater Safety Tips:

  • Have your chimney checked before the season for creosote buildup – and then have it professionally cleaned.
  • Use only safe sources of alternative heat such as a fireplace, small well-vented wood or coal stove or portable space heaters. Always follow manufacturers instructions.
  • Have a fire extinguisher and smoke detectors in your home.  Have them tested regularly to make sure they are working correctly. If you are in need of smoke detectors and live in Union County, please fill out a request form here to the Union County Fire Department.
  • Never use gasoline to start your fireplace.
  • Do not close the damper when ashes are hot.
  • Keep curtains, towels, and potholders away from hot surfaces and flames.
  • Always keep a screen around an open flame.
  • As always, be prepared with a well-planned escape route for the entire family.

Staying Toasty Inside your Home or Business

Losing your heat during the Winter is a recipe for tough times. If your heat goes out during a winter storm:

  • You can keep warm by closing off rooms you do not need.  Use a sheet to hang over entryways that have no doors, but be mindful that it is not in close proximity to a flammable heating source.
  • Do not plug portable electric heaters of any kind into extension cords or power strips!  Plug directly into wall outlets.
  • Dress in layers of lightweight clothing and wear a winter hat.
  • Eat well-balanced meals.

More Winter Weather Resources:






For Local Information, including articles and resources I have put together in one place – visit this webpage here.


Michelle Miller Real Estate at Coldwell Banker High Country Realty Serves North Georgia as both a Buyer & Selling Real Estate Professional.  

Services offered to Blairsville, Blue Ridge, Hiawassee, Clayton, Tiger, Young Harris, Morganton, Mineral Bluff, Ellijay, Cherry Log, Suches, McCaysville & Epworth.

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