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Old 02-16-2013, 11:19 AM
Location: Sarasota/ Bradenton - University Pkwy area
4,621 posts, read 7,545,116 times
Reputation: 6042


Yes, it does get cold enough here in SW Florida a couple of times a winter to take "winter precautions," especially when they are predicting wind chills in the mid to upper 20's. BRRRR!

For those new to our area, here are some general tips on what to do to prepare for a cold FL night:

Pets - obviously, don't leave them out on a cold night, even on the lanai.

Pipes - if you have a home where water pipes may be exposed (such as older homes with crawl spaces), you may want to stop by one of the big box building supply stores and pick up some insulating wrap for your pipes. This also applies to your back flow preventer by the driveway - standing water in those can freeze on cold nights. Another option for your back flow preventer is to wrap a blanket around it if you don't want to go to the trouble of wrapping the pipes.

Irrigation Systems - they suggest turning off your auto run on your irrigation system if it's set to run on a freeze warning night, such as tonight and Sunday night.

Tropical Plants - If you have tropical plants in pots, move them into your garage or cover them with sheets, light blankets or specially designed covers from the garden section of the big box stores. I've found old sheets work well unless they are too thin. If you have tropical plants in your landscaping, such as hibiscus, it is suggested you cover them on nights like tonight to protect them from cold damage as well. I keep a stack of old sheets in the bottom of the linen closet for this purpose. I also keep a bag of wooden clothes pins as those work great for securing the covers on the plants so that the wind doesn't blow them off of the plants (which can happen when wind chills are involved, such as tonight). Do not use plastic to cover your plants, that can actually cause more damage than protection.

Heat Pumps - many homes in our area have heat pumps for heating, which works fine until the temps drop below 40. Once temps get below that, unless you have one of the new generation heat pumps, you'll find your home getting cooler as the temps drop since the heat pump does not function as well in colder temps. Most systems also have a back up, emergency heat strip. You may want to make sure your emergency heat system is working before it gets cold later on tonight.

Space Heaters - every time the temps drop low, there is at least one tragic story in our area about someone setting a space heater too close to the bed or curtains and starting a fire. If you opt to use space heaters, please be careful as to where you place them.

Bundle up tonight everyone, and remember, it's only for 2 nights -- by the middle of next week we will be wearing shorts again.
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