Below freezing temperatures are heading to the Tennessee Valley. Just last week, the area saw spring-like temperatures
Protecting your pipes is something that always comes to mind when a cold snap hits. Plumbers said there's no reason to be concerned about them freezing, but it's always a good idea to take precautions.
Some of us will also be turning on the heat for the first time in a while, which brings its own set of challenges.
Winford Workman with Keefe Plumbing said there's always the chance your pipes could freeze, but it's not likely in this case.
"It's not as bad as like a hard freeze when you expect it for two or three days. You should be okay, but you should take precautions to prevent it from happening," Workman said.
That includes opening up cabinet doors beneath the sink so heat can get in, letting your faucet run slightly for the night, and something some could forget with the warm temperatures we've had is taking the hose off the spigot outside.
"The cold weather itself is okay, but when you get that wind and that wind chill going, it has a big effect on the outside faucets," Workman said.
Some of us will be pulling out our heaters to stay warm.
Keeping it 3 feet away from anything that could burn is usually best.
"If you suspect that something is wrong with your heater, turn it off. If you smell something that doesn't smell like it's supposed to. Turn it off," said Capt. Chuck Hartung with the Chattanooga Fire Department.
Make sure to turn it off when you're not in the room and don't use an extension cord. That's because it could overload and cause a fire.
If that happens, officials with the Chattanooga Fire Department says it's important to be prepared.
"Make sure you have a good, working smoke detector in your home. Make sure that it's got good, fresh batteries in it. Practice an escape plan with your family to know what to do in case of an emergency," Capt. Hartung said.
Remember, take your pets inside and cover your plants.
Additional tips from Tennessee American Water regarding pipes:
Before cold weather sets in:
Check sprinkler or irrigation systems. Make sure you have turned everything off and fully drained the system.
Identify your home's freezing points. Check your home for pipes in areas that might be prone to freezing, such as crawl spaces, unheated rooms, basements, garages, and exterior walls.
Know how to shut off your water. Locate your main water shut-off valve. You may want to tag or label it so you do not have to search for it in an emergency.
Strengthen your defenses. Eliminate sources of cold air near water lines by closing off crawl spaces, fixing drafty windows, insulating walls and attics, and plugging drafts around doors.
Protect your pipes. Where pipes are exposed to cold, wrap them with insulation or electrical pipe heater (even fabric or newspaper can help).
When temperatures stay below freezing:
Prevent pipes from freezing. Allow a small trickle of water to run overnight to keep pipes from freezing. Consider collecting the water for later use. Also, the cost of a short-term trickle is much less costly than a repair of a burst pipe.
Keep your pipes warm. Open cabinet doors to expose pipes to warmer room temperatures to help keep them from freezing.
If your pipes do freeze:
Shut off the water immediately. Don't attempt to thaw pipes without first turning off the main shut-off valve.
Thaw pipes with warm air. You can melt the frozen water in the pipe by warming air around it with a hair dryer or space heater. Be sure not to leave the space heater unattended and avoid the use of kerosene or open flames.
Be careful turning water back on. Once pipes are thawed, slowly turn the water back on and double check for any additional cracks and leaks.
Tips from The Home Safety Council on heating safety:
Space Heaters: Space heaters need space. Keep them at least three feet away from things that can burn, such as curtains or stacks of newspaper. Always turn off heaters when leaving the room or going to bed.
Furnaces: Have a service person inspect chimneys, fireplaces, wood and coal stoves and central furnaces once a year. Have them cleaned when necessary.
Fireplaces and Wood Stoves: Keep things that can burn away from your fireplace and keep a glass or metal screen in front of your fireplace. Creosote logs can be used to help reduce the build-up of creosote in fireplaces. Check labels to make sure the log has been tested and approved by UL. Even if you use creosote logs, fireplaces should still be inspected by a professional each year.