It is not only going to be a white Christmas this year, it is going to be a particularly harsh Christmas with temperatures next week expected to fall as far down as -28.  This is nothing new to Montanans but at the same time taking some simple preventative measures could help you avoid a disaster in your home as the holidays arrive.

If you are in a mobile or manufactured home or if your dwelling has poor insulation, make sure all crawl spaces are sealed from drafts.  This is of particular importance if your home's water intake is close to the house's perimeter because sometimes all it takes is a draft in these temperatures to freeze your water line.  Inside, it would be wise to keep a faucet dripping when temperatures are below freezing and when it is particularly cold, open your cabinet doors to allow heat to circulate near pipe that are inside your walls.  Weatherstripping your doors will help keep your home warm and will save a considerable amount on your heating bill and if you want to go the extra step, adhere plastic sheeting to the frames around your windows.

Dog sleeping on snow in a park. Cold winter.
If it's subzero, BRING THEM IN.  Photo: Remus Rigo/Getty Images.

Pet care is of utmost importance when it is extremely cold with many under the incorrect assumption that "because they have fur they are fine in the cold."  They are not.  A good rule of thumb is that if your dog is not an Arctic breed, if you're cold, they're cold.  Short bathroom and exercise breaks are fine, but under no circumstances should your dog or cat be left outside without a warm shelter in subzero temperatures.  In cold weather, particular care should be given to elderly animals.

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