Record low freezing temps expected this weekend

Tips to keep your home, pets warm when temperatures fall

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – With record low freezing temperatures expected for the Jacksonville area this weekend, you may be looking for some tips on how to prepare your home for the cold.

According to the National Weather Service, temperatures are expected to dip down into the mid-20s in parts of Jacksonville.

"We have a hard freeze for basically all of southeast Georgia, mainly inland, northeast Florida, west of the St. John's River," said Jason Hess of the National Weather Service. "Then, a freeze watch east of the St. John's River, from basically Ponte Vedra Beach down through Daytona Beach, St. John and Flagler Beach right now."

Keeping your house warm

Ron Helton of Home Depot walked with Channel 4's Adrienne Moore down nearly every aisle of the store. He pointed out ways to better protect your home from this weekend's deep freeze.

"There will be a lot of people coming in," said Helton.

Helton said your first priority should be your outdoor pipes.

"Pipe insulation is the best way to go," said Helton demonstrating. "You can get it where it's pre-split and you just slide it up on the pipe. You can never have too much duct tape, and then just run it every foot or so. Every couple of feet, run it around."

It's also important to weather strip your home and seal any cracks or crevices around your doors, windows or anywhere else around your home. That's where foam insulation is key. Once you spray it, it keeps cold air out and the all-important heat in.

If you're not careful, your effort to warm up could go up in flames.

"People bring out space heaters and kerosene heaters," said Randy Wise of the Jacksonville Association of Firefighters. "The most important thing is keep them away from any flammable material, your bed, any blankets or things like that. Real important, too, if you're using a kerosene heater, not to fill it inside the house."

Taking care of your outside pets

The colder temperatures means taking extra precautions in taking care of your outside animals as well.

"If you have a porch, you can set up a nice little shelter for them," said veterinarian Jennifer Broadhurst. "You want something that is nice and draft free, that is small enough that it keeps their body heat inside, but big enough for them to be comfortable in."

Broadhurst suggests packing the shelter with straw or cedar shavings.

Older animals, along with puppies and kittens, are more susceptible to the chilly weather. Vets say it's important you not only keep them inside, but incorporate more protein in their diet.

Protecting plants during cold temps

Plants can also prove to be problematic during a dramatic dip in temperatures.

Helton explains what should move inside your home, stay outside or be covered.

"Your woody ornamentals, like thick leaf plants such as viburnums and ligustrums, they will weather the cold much better than the tropical plants, like your palms and your robellinis," said Helton. "Your segos will weather really well, but your delicate palms, like your queens and stuff, you need to get those covered right away."

Helton said pop up covers or protective sheets are available for under $15 and close pins will help hold them in place.

If money is tight, or you have dozens of plants, Helton offers some advice.

"Cheap sheets. They're fabric and they're lightweight," said Helton. "They'll cover them up and protect them from frost."

Click here for tips to protect your plants from the cold.

For all of the latest weather conditions, check JustWeather.com.