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Home Tips for the Extreme Cold

It’s been news for the better part of the last two weeks, but this intense cold has still taken many of us by surprise. Temperatures in the Chicagoland area are currently hovering right around the -20° mark, and this visit to the sub-zero zone is expected to last through Thursday. Most homes are struggling to keep the cold out, even with the furnace running non-stop.

Here are some quick tips to help make it through the next two days.

  • Keep your thermostat set two to four degrees higher than your normal comfortable temperature, and place it on HOLD.
  • If possible, replace the furnace air filter. A dirty filter makes your furnace work harder.
  • If you have a high-efficiency furnace (90% AFUE or higher), make sure the exterior intake and exhaust are clear of ice and snow. These will be the two white PVC pipes that are usually on the side or back of your home.
  • Find the faucet furthest from your water meter and leave it on a slow trickle. This will prevent pressure buildup within the pipes and help keep them from freezing.
  • Open the cabinet doors under your kitchen and bathroom sinks to get warmer air near the water pipes.
  • If your washer and dryer are on an exterior wall, find a way to get heat behind them and the water supply and drain lines.
  • Know where your main water shut-off valve is! If one of your pipes does burst due to the cold, it’s important to know how to quickly shut your water off.
  • And if you don’t absolutely need to leave the house, stay indoors! It’s cold enough to kill outside, and every bit of cold air you let inside makes it harder to keep your home warm.
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