how to protect our home if we are not prepared for extreme cold


The Community of Madrid attended this Saturday 940 incidents of meter freezing of water due to the snow and with the temperatures expected from Monday, the fear now is that these incidences will increase.

Twelve tips for moving around the city when the snow turns to ice

Twelve tips for moving around the city when the snow turns to ice

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Both in this community and in Castilla-La Mancha or Castilla y León, the forecast only gets worse, and it is expected starting tonight an intense cold hello with nightly lows that can reach minus 10ºC in urban environments. And worst of all: the wave is expected to last into early next week.

How to survive when we are not at all prepared for these conditions, which do not make us suffer less because of their intensity? We give you below a compilation of tips that both the administrations and the emergency agencies and bodies and security forces of the State offer these days.

Regarding infrastructures

  • Remove snow / ice from balconies and driveway to avoid slipping that could lead to serious injury.
  • If you have a roof or terrace, try not to accumulate too much snow; remove it with a bucket and melt it in the bathtub with hot water and with patience; don’t let it turn to ice because then it will cost you much more. However, according to the Technical Building Code, the snow overload for areas below 1,000 meters is 100 kg / m2; there would have to be more than 80 centimeters of snow “to start worrying.”
  • Also carefully remove snow / ice from air conditioners attached to the facade of the house or building; If it turns into ice it can do a lot of damage if it falls off and falls into the street, and the only person responsible will be you.

Regarding the thermal insulation of the house

  • Do not use heat pumps; not only because they don’t work in these cold conditions, but also because they will form more ice sheets on the compressor that can fall onto the street and injure pedestrians. Look for other alternatives to heat your house; especially if you have, opt for gas so as not to overload the electricity grid.
  • Ensure the closing of windows: if you have very poor insulation, use foam, towels, clothing or adhesive tape to prevent heat leakage.
  • If you have curtains, put them down; By creating a layer between the window and the still air curtain, the convection of heat to the outside is reduced, as still air is a great insulator.
  • Lower the blinds as soon as the sun goes down – glass is a terrible insulator, so the blind will improve efficiency. On the other hand, make sure that the drawers of the blind insulate well, as they are usually an area of ​​heat loss. If there are gaps, cover them with foam, clothing, or electrical tape.
  • Wear thick warm clothing and, if necessary, blankets; the more clothes, the less you will have to pull on the heating and the less risk there will be of overloading the network, with the consequent blackout.
  • Concentrate the whole family in a single area of ​​the house and keep the rest of the areas closed, if possible isolating doors.
  • Only activate the heating in the rooms occasionally before going to bed or going to the bathroom.
  • Try to keep the heating on at night, albeit to a minimum, to prevent the walls from getting too cold; It will also guarantee that the pipes do not freeze.
  • Do not ventilate and if you do wait until noon to do it.

Regarding your pets

  • They must have a place in the house, indoors, conditioned and warm to spend the night. Provide them with mats and blankets to combat the eventual cold.
  • Keep the door of the room open in case they want to come to sleep with you and be attentive if they claim you. Keep in mind that they do not have the same sleep cycles as you and even if you put a blanket on them, if they go out to drink water for example, then they don’t know how to get back inside.

Regarding the pipes

We proceed with the recommendations offered by Canal Isabel II:

  • It is recommended to protect the meter by wrapping it in materials that prevent it from getting too cold. Insulating fabrics, such as wool or fiberglass, or even crumpled newspaper, are good options.
  • In addition to the above, covering the pipes around the meter with polyurethane foam, styrofoam, or other insulating material will help avoid potential problems.
  • If you are going to be away from your home for a long period and, therefore, the water in the indoor installation will not run, it is advisable to close the water inlet tap and empty the indoor installation: this will prevent breakage due to freezing.
  • If a freeze occurs in the meter and the house is left without a water supply, the stopcock should not be forced: it must be applied, with caution, dry heat indirectly.

Civil Guard recommends having the bathtub at home, or buckets and pots, failing that, filled with water in case a freeze occurs with the subsequent power cut.

If we leave home

The 112-Emergencies recommends not leaving the house unless it is absolutely necessary, but if we do it, we must:

  • Shelter properly.
  • Wear grippy footwear.
  • Avoid shady areas where the sun does not shine.
  • Walk where other people have passed.
  • Walk slightly leaning forward.
  • If we have crampons, this week they will come in handy. Also in sports and mountain stores you can buy soles for walking on ice at a fairly affordable price.

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