How to prepare your home for this week’s freezing temperatures

A prolonged cold snap is in the weather forecast for the metro area with overnight low temperatures below zero and a single-digit high temperature Sunday.

Metro area temps are expected to drop into the single digits overnight Thursday and stay below the freezing point until this coming Tuesday, according to the National Weather Service in Boulder. There’s a chance of snow in Denver tonight through Sunday.

The arctic weather, Denver’s coldest spell this season, could cause problems for people who aren’t prepared, including bursting pipes and dead car batteries. Measures taken before the cold hits, and while the frigid weather is here, can help residents through the extreme winter weather.

Inside the home, residents can leave cabinet doors open, allowing warmer house air to filter into the cabinets spaces housing water pipes, according to AccuWeather.com. Water faucets can also be slow-dripped, keeping water moving in the supply pipe and helping to prevent freezing.

Keeping the house temperature to at least 65 degrees, if possible, should help prevent problems, said Carole Walker, executive director of the ‎Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Turning up the temperature on the water heater temporarily during the cold spell should also help.

Frozen pipes burst and cause thousands of dollars in damage, Walker said. And while most home insurance policies will cover the damage, or a portion of it, it’s better to be prepared and avoid the inconvenience.

“We haven’t had this kind of a cold snap for a while, frozen pipes could be a problem,” Walker said.

Extremely cold weather, especially with hard winds and snow, can lead to power outages.

Customers of Xcel Energy are urged to report outages promptly. Reports can be made:

  • On the Xcel Energy mobile app available on iOS and Android;
  • Online at xcelenergy.com/out;
  • Text ‘OUT’ to 98936 to report an outage, or text STAT to the same number to check the status of
    a power outage.

Xcel Energy recommends that residents have accessible emergency kits, including first aid items, flashlights, batteries, bottled water and nonperishable food.

People using space heaters during the cold spell should use extreme caution, more than 65,000 home fire are caused by heating equipment annually in the United States, according to the Electrical Safety Foundation International.

Space heaters should be used only as instructed, residents should visually inspect wires and plug connections to make sure they are not frayed or broken. Space heaters should not run unattended and they should be turned off at night during sleeping hours.

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