by: Angie’s List Staff

Storm tips to help you dig out or get through if you’re snowed in:

* If your lock freezes up use a light or match to heat the key. You can also use a lock de-icer.

* To keep your doors from freezing shut, your best bet is to keep your car in a garage. If you don’t have a garage, apply a coat of petroleum jelly to the door’s hinges and latches, or place a plastic trash bag between the door or window glass and the frame. Do not throw hot water on the car. It will freeze.

* If no water is available, you can melt snow in an emergency. Bringing water to a rolling boil for one minute will kill most germs.

* If you’re snowed in and can’t get out of your driveway, make some calls to snow removal companies. While this is a busy time, a provider may be able to squeeze you in. Check with your neighbors to see if there is a snow blower you can borrow. Canceled classes mean students are home from school. They might be interested in making some extra money shoveling your driveway and walkways.

If your power goes out:

* Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed as much as possible. An unopened freezer should keep food frozen up to 48 hours. Food should remain cold in an unopened refrigerator for 24 hours. If power is out for a long period of time, snowdrifts can be used as a makeshift freezer for food.

* Unplug all equipment that will automatically turn on when power is restored or that may become damaged due to voltage irregularities.

* Use flashlights for emergency lighting. Do not use candles.

* Do not run a generator inside a home or garage.

Other common winter problems:

* Furnace goes out: Call your service provider. Use an alternative heat source such as a wood stove or fireplace in the meantime. Do not use your stove/oven as a source of heat. This increases your risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.

* Frozen pipes: Soak towels in hot water and wrap them around cold sections of the pipe. Keep cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes. Turn on faucets enough to let them drip slowly. Keeping water moving within pipes will prevent freezing. Monitor your faucets for reduced water flow.

* Pipes that burst: If a pipe has burst, shut off the main valve and call a plumber.

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