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Brief: Advice on Weathering Freezing Temperatures

— With below-freezing temperatures in the forecast this week, the Montgomery County Fire and Rescue offers a few simple steps to keep your family safe and your home’s pipes from freezing.

  • Prepare pipes in advance. Remove, drain and store garden hoses used outside. If practical, use an inside valve to shut off and drain water from pipes leading to outside faucets. This reduces the chance of freezing pipes just inside your house.

  • Properly winterize automatic landscaping sprinkler systems.

  • Check and monitor any exposed pipes in unheated areas such as basements, garages, attics and crawlspaces.

  • As temperatures drop below freezing, protect indoor sink pipes located along exterior walls by opening under-sink cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate.

  • Consider keeping your thermostat at the same temperature during the day and at night. While temporarily suspending any pre-programmed energy-efficient settings could result in a slightly higher utility bill, it might prevent a costly repair bill if pipes freeze and break.

  • If your pipes break, seek the assistance of a professional plumber and never use a hair dryer or other appliance to thaw frozen pipes — you risk electrocution.

  • If you are going to be away during the cold weather, leave the heat on in your home and set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.

  • Stay informed. Sign up for Alert Montgomery. For information, visit https://alert.montgomerycountymd.gov/register.php

Also check on elderly neighbors and friends who may need additional assistance to ensure their safety and always having working smoke alarms in the home. Visit www.mcfrs.org/mcsafe for more safety tips.