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Four Ways to Help Protect Your Home During a Polar Vortex

How to prepare your home for emergency cold weather

When your local meteorologist utters the words 'polar vortex', you know you can expect bitterly cold temperatures and even dangerous wind chills. You can also expect that in the coming days, your local plumbing and heating technicians' phones will be ringing non-stop responding to broken heating systems and frozen pipes.

"During these cold snaps, our customers receive many calls from homeowners due to frozen pipes and inoperable heating systems," said Chris Tomeno, a heating sales consultant at EDOS Manufacturers whose plumbing and HVAC professionals serve U.S. contractors in New England. "One of the most misunderstood aspects of a polar vortex is the impact that wind and cold air can have on the home. When wind travels through the smallest of cracks in a home, it can cause razor-thin sheets of subzero air that can penetrate deep into the home. Any water-filled pipe, such as a hydronic baseboard, a water supply line connecting a fixture or water well pumps, can be frozen when thin sheets of subzero air blasts across them – sometimes feet away from a crack or opening in the home. It's critical for homeowners to monitor these areas and fixtures in order to save them from polar vortex damage."

To help protect your home in the event of a winter-weather emergency, professionals suggest performing preventive home maintenance – such as getting your heating system tuned up annually, conducting a home energy audit or checking the batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors.

Together with a network of professional contractors, Resideo helps keep homes safe, efficient and comfortable. The company looks at homes as consisting of four different, critical networks:

  • The Air Network: Ducts that push air throughout the home
  • The Water Network: The pipes and plumbing that move water throughout the home
  • The Energy Network: The home’s wiring and controls
  • The Security Network: Data transported around the home to detect potential dangers

Following are four ways to help protect your home's four critical networks during a polar vortex:

  • Air: Keep your home at one constant temperature during the polar vortex. If you typically follow a heating schedule, consider over-riding the thermostat schedule for the duration of the polar vortex. Also ensure the system's air filters are clean so it can continue to run optimally.
  • Water: Check areas in your home that are susceptible to frozen pipes, such as those that are on exterior walls. Consider adding a water leak and freeze detector to those areas.
  • Energy: Keep the natural gas meter clear of snow and ice. Icy build-up and accumulated snow can prevent the meter from operating properly by stopping the flow of natural gas. Also, be mindful to only open exterior doors, such as a garage door, when necessary to conserve energy.
  • Security: Be sure your carbon monoxide (CO) detector is checked and working properly. When you run your home heating systems consistently for hours, the chances of CO poisoning also increase. Each year in the U.S., more than 20,000 Americas visit the emergency room from unintentional CO poisoning, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

While you can’t prevent cold weather from hitting, you can take preventative, home-maintenance steps ahead of cold snaps to help thwart off Jack Frost. A professional can help you find a solution that's right for you and your home. Visit and ask about ways you can outsmart winter with smart home solutions.