With that Arctic air mass over eastern Ontario, Ottawa is cold! It’s the coldest it’s been in eight years — almost -40 with windchill. Here are some tips to help you weather the weather.
1) Don’t set your furnace more than 2 degrees Celsius below its daytime setting at night. You’re not saving money. When it’s this cold, it takes the furnace longer to regain its original temperature; turning it down is actually more expensive than leaving it where it is.
2) Make sure your furnace filter is clean. If it’s dirty, that furnace is going to be working even harder.
3) Keep a tap running at night, just a trickle, no more than the width of a pencil. Yes, it will cost you a little money, but it’s a lot cheaper than having frozen pipes.
4) If your pipes do freeze, try holding a blowdryer near the main intake valve for 15-20 minutes. That’s often all the plumbers do, and it can save you the cost of having one come. But just in case, do keep a pot of water handy in case your pipes do freeze. Your pets will be thirsty; you’ll want to brush your teeth and have coffee while you wait for the pros to fix the damage.
5) Check your windshield wiper fluid and make sure it’s good to minus -45. Some aren’t, and with the salt on the roads, you’re going to need to clean that windshield from time to time.
6) Keep a full tank of gas. In this kind of cold, condensation can form inside the tank if you don’t, and that can freeze the gas line. It’s less likely to happen if the tank is full but if it does happen, and if your car can use it, keep a container of gas line antifreeze on hand. NOTE: this product should not be used in some cars; be sure to check first.
7) I spray the locks on my front and back doors with WD-40. (I pull out the deadbolt and spray it too.) Again, a little condensation that freezes up is enough to lock you out. And you don’t want to be standing outside in -40 degree weather waiting for a locksmith, do you?