Mother Nature has been flexing her muscles in recent years,with flooding, drought, storms and record high and low temperatures. Sometimes people have been well-prepared for inclement weather, while other times have borne witness to some nasty surprises. When arctic cold whips southward, it first hits places like International Falls, Minnesota., where the locals are accustomed to competing for “coldest spot in the country”. When folks build a place up north, they don’t lay plastic water pipe in a shallow trench. No, all that gets buried below the permafrost line. But, people down in the mid-south and up in the Sierra foothills are not ready when the mercury drops toward zero. Every year we are shown clips of Florida citrus farmers trying to protect their crops from the annual “surprise” cold weather. Most of the problems involved with cold have to do with surprises, and not the good kind. Below, you will find some of the tricks Jack Frost can play, and a few tips on how to thwart the chill.
- Water Pipes – If you don’t live where pipes are routinely installed below-ground you may have to wrap pipes with insulating materials.
- 2. Doors & Windows – Wind, combined with freezing rain or sleet, can seal doors and windows shut. Usually the situation is worse on one side of the house than the other, and you may be able to open a door on the leeward side of the building.
- The Commode – Just the thought of the seat being ice-cold is enough to send someone to Amazon.com for a heated toilet seat, and there are plenty available.
- 3-Dog (or Cat) Nights – On really cold nights you may find that all your four-legged friends decide to join you on the bed. Hint: whoever gets to bed first gets the best real estate.
- Back of the Fridge – For some reason, everything that finds its way to the back of the refrigerator comes out frozen solid.
- Spouses Feet – It’s a true scientific fact that all spouses have feet that are made of ice. You can look it up.
- Garage Door Opener – Extreme cold can affect some garage door mechanisms; be careful when you choose which side of the door to park your car before the cold spell settles in.
- Outside Faucets – Outside faucets and taps are prone to freezing. Wrapping them with insulating materials can help. Letting a faucet drip keeps water in motion, and can prevent pipes from freezing. In northern climates, ‘frostless’ outside faucets are usually installed to protect against freeze-up.
- Satellite Dish – Ice storms and freezing rain can impact satellite performance when the dish gets coated in ice. Pans of hot water can fix the problem, or even a garden hose if it, too, isn’t frozen.
- The Family Car – If the garage isn’t heated the family car can get awfully cold; usually it’s the loser of paper/scissors/rock who has to go out and warm up the vehicle.
Even firewood works better if you have it in the house long enough for it to get to room temperature before you toss it into the wood stove. The best fix for winter freezing, and this hasn’t changed in recent memory, is Spring.