Cold weather hits Florida; protect your property
A cold snap is on the way for Florida. Many of us may have forgotten what that feels like. Last winter, it never got cold enough in my part of the state to freeze back the tropical plants, those that typically wither at a brush with coolness. They might succumb this week. Temperatures are expected to dip into the 30s in many parts of the state.
Damage to your property from freezing conditions is covered under your homeowners policy. However, keep in mind that there is generally a requirement to take reasonable steps to prevent the damage from occurring, such as keeping the house warm and maintaining pipes so they won’t burst.
Plumbing problems are very common with freezing conditions – and because freezing conditions happen rarely in the Sunshine State, here are some tips on surviving the cold:
- If you have a swimming pool, it’s a good idea to keep the pump running overnight when the temperature is expected to go below freezing. Running the water through the pool pipes keeps the system from freezing up and prevents pipes from bursting.
- Disconnect garden hoses. If you leave hoses connected to the outdoor faucet, ice can form inside and the pressure can build up in the water lines inside the house. That can cause a water leak – or worse. If it gets cold over extended periods where you live, you may want to put an insulated jacket over the outdoor faucet.
- Know where the shut-off valves are for your home. They may be under the sink, near the water meter or out by the roadway. In fact, it’s a good idea to turn the valves on and off once a year, as a preventive maintenance step because the valves can “freeze up” from neglect, not the cold.
Hurricanes and tornadoes rank as #1 and #2 for natural disasters; winter storms are in third place. Most of the damage from these winter storms happens in places other than the South, of course. Yet, those living in Northern climates know how to deal with extreme cold, and we may be less prepared (while remaining thankful for not needing to know how to drive in snow…).