Coldest Christmas in 3 decades: How to prepare your home for the freezing temperatures

Here’s advice on how to protect your pipes, pool, plants and pets

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Freezing temperatures could create the coldest Christmas in more than 30 years for Floridians, and experts stress the importance of protecting your home.

With temperatures expected to dip below freezing and potentially stay there for hours, some people might be wondering what they should do about leaving their house before vacation or what to do to protect their property if they stay home.

News4JAX got some answers from Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department Capt. Eric Prosswimmer.

“We’ve been lucky it hasn’t been that cold this winter, we usually hit freezing temps later on, but yeah, it’s going to be the first,” Prosswimmer said. “We are going to be busy.”

Prosswimmer said the department is already receiving reports of fires, likely associated with people preparing for arctic air. According to Prosswimmer, fire is the No. 1 danger.

“In an older house, if you find a heating strip is tripping your breaker, don’t keep resetting it. Those breakers trip for a reason,” Prosswimmer said. “Have an electrician come out and make sure the device is working properly.”

Another common cause of fire is Space heaters, which can get as hot as 350 degrees. To avoid any danger, make sure your space heater is at least 3 feet away from any objects.

And here’s what you can do to protect your pipes, pool, plants, pets and more:

  • Pipes: Let the water drip.
  • Pools: Most newer pool pumps have freeze protection, but if you don’t know if yours does, let your pool run all night.
  • Plants: Move them in.
  • Pets: If it’s too cold for you to be outside, it’s probably too cold for your pet, as well. If left outdoors, pets can freeze, become disoriented or get extremely ill. A general rule is anytime the temperature is below 32 degrees, it’s time to move them to a warmer location.
  • Thermostat: Keep it at 68.

About the Author:

Tarik anchors the 4, 5:30 and 6:30 p.m. weekday newscasts and reports with the I-TEAM.