After 90 Northwest winters, McLendon’s knows the Sound’s biggest snowstorms are the ones that aren’t predicted. Get ready for season’s freezings with DIY care for homes, autos and you. It’s not too late to stay safe and warm!
SEASON’S FREEZINGS: FAUCET FORTIFICATION & PIPE PREP
“Burst pipes are so much harder to repair after the fact—it’s a lot of time and a lot of money,“ says Diane K., who’s worked in our Plumbing Department for 40-something years.
You may have a broken pipe if your water doesn’t run when the faucet’s on, if you hear dripping, or if you see a leak. If you suspect a pipe’s burst, immediately turn off the water at the main shut-off valve and call a plumber.
Protect Outdoor Faucets First
Before a freeze, “the No. 1 thing to remember” is to install outdoor faucet covers, said Diane, our plumbing guru.
Insulate Water Pipes
Pipes in unheated areas like attics, garages and crawl spaces are at the greatest risk of rupture. These fast fixes can save your bacon.
- INEXPENSIVE: Polyfoam pipe installs in seconds and cuts to size with a utility knife. These are sold in 6-foot lengths, as well as elbow- and tee-shapes.
- OL’ FAITHFUL: On very cold nights, open cabinets under sinks so warm air can circulate, and leave water dripping at the sink farthest from the water main. Your cats will thank you.
- EASY: For crawl spaces that vent outside, consider covering them with foam vent plugs.
- MOST EFFECTIVE: Electric heat cables plug into an outlet for year-round functionality, automatically turning on at 38° F and off at 46° F.
Seal Air Leaks
Small drafts where ductwork, wires or vents enter your home are enough to freeze pipes.
- EXPANDING FOAM: Puget Sounders love cans of spray foam. It can’t be beat for odd-shaped spaces, big gaps and hard-to-reach places.
- THERMAL TAPE: Around dryer vents and pipes, try foam-backed pipe wrap tape.
- JACK-OF-ALL-INSULATORS: Spun from super-heated reclaimed slag, rock wool resists fire, water and won’t give you slivers.
It’s sweater season for houses, too. Read our weatherization blog and learn about DIY cold-weather prep.
SEASON’S FREEZINGS: HOME HEATING
Make time for a little “how’s your father” with your home’s heating systems. Get intimate with their innards and understand how they function, so you’ll know what to do when it matters.
Gas & Oil Furnaces
Know how to locate its filter, pilot light and the fuel source’s main shut-off valve.
- Keep essentials nearby—fresh filters, a utility lighter, flashlight and necessary tools like a gas-valve key.
Wood Stoves, Pellet Stoves & Fireplaces
If it’s been a while since you used it, become reacquainted with your stove’s start-up procedure. A good weekly cleanout (or more, depending on use) keep your wood stove, pellet stove or fireplace safer and more efficient
- Handle that ash. Save your home’s vac and treat yourself to an ash vacuum.
Portable Heaters—Indoor-Approved Kerosene & Propane
Safely using these is life-or-death. Carbon monoxide poisoning can kill you if you use an outdoor-only heater inside. Here’s how to stay warm when the power’s out—and live to tell about it.
- Kerosene heaters approved for indoor use include Sengoku’s KeroHeat, which delivers an eyebrow-singeing 10,000 BTUs of cozy comfort.
When the power’s on, portable electric heaters can’t be beat for dependable warmth.
- For energy efficiency and comfort, consider an infrared heater. These warm rooms with heated wavelengths (not metal coils). Keep all heaters three feet from anything.
Cold weather increases the risk of house fires. Read our fire safety blog and learn about DIY house-fire safety.
SEASON’S FREEZINGS: GENERATORS, BATTERIES & FUEL
Imagine being at home, reading a book in snuggly warmth while the power’s out—sound nice? Make it a reality and stay merry and bright, whatever the weather.
When it comes to supplemental power, the more watts the merrier.
- Don’t forget a gas can.
- We’ve got your batteries by the hundreds—and accessories too. Find batteries for cars to key fobs, plus chargers, inverters and more. Don’t forget your batteries’ BFF, flashlights.
Propane & Kerosene
These fuel sources not only save your bacon—they’ll cook it, too.
- Propane, a gas, is sold in pressurized cylinders and propane by-the-gallon to power lanterns, heaters, cook stoves & more.
Don’t be left in the dark. Read our power outage blog and learn the ins about outages.
SEASON’S FREEZINGS: DE-ICE, ICE BABY
Summer’s vanilla ice-cream scooping is nothing like wintertime frost scraping. After all, you don’t use a credit card to scoop ice cream. This is the year you’ll be prepared, because de-icer is cheaper than a co-pay.
Driveways & Sidewalk
- For serious ice-melting power, scatter calcium chloride prills (coolest word I’ve learned today) on your walks and drive.
- Fill up your squirts with a gallon of fancy windshield fluid that de-ices and repels rain, affording you time for a second cup of coffee.
- Show snow and ice who’s mediocre with a Seattle Seahawks ice scraper.
- Relax and cover chilly digits with cold-weather utility gloves made in the City of Subdued Excitement.
Taking Care of No. 1
- Lastly, don’t leave yourself out in the cold. Find flannel-lined Carhartt jackets and dungarees, then suss out socks and boots too. Trust McLendon’s to have seasonal essentials all in store for you.
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