No matter how diligently you plan and prepare for the holidays, accidents, and emergencies can occur, even at the most inopportune times. Avoiding them is impossible; however, with proper planning, you can be prepared to take action that will lessen the potential damage.
Here are some of the most common holiday emergencies, and the steps you can take to fix them.
Most Common Holiday Plumbing Emergency: Frozen Pipes
You wake up early in the morning, grab your toothbrush, turn the faucet handle, and feel nothing come out.
Frozen pipes are one of the most common concerns for households, which account for nearly 25 percent of emergencies during the holidays. The potential for frozen pipes is often a surprise for U.S. residents in the South and Southwest, where temperatures rarely drop below freezing. However, on those rare occasions, these residents often find themselves ill-prepared to handle them.
When you encounter a frozen pipe, the first thing you want to do is open the faucet, which will allow water to flow as the pipes thaw. If you’re lucky enough to have access to the frozen pipes, you can apply an electric heating pad to assist the melting process.
Most Common Kitchen Holiday Emergency: Grease Fire
Even the most experienced cooks can encounter the danger of a grease fire while making their favorite holiday dishes. Typically, grease fires occur when fat is heated beyond its smoke point and begins to combust.
Never pour water onto a grease fire. Water will cause the flames to double in size and spread out. Similar results occur when you use a damp towel or a standard fire extinguisher. Instead, keep a small dry chemical fire extinguisher under your sink and use it to smother the flames.
Additionally, baking soda is an effective grease fire retardant. Your dish may be ruined, but it’s certainly better than repairing damage from a house fire.
Most Common Electrical Holiday Emergency: Power Outage
It could be an untimely thunderstorm, a snowstorm or ice storm (which can even occur in Atlanta), or maybe something like a car hitting an electrical pole. Regardless of how it happens, power outages can put a damper on the holiday festivities for the whole family.
For starters, don’t panic, especially if there isn’t a storm in the area. If the power suddenly goes out, and the weather is fine, it could be something as simple as a tripped circuit breaker. However, if the circuit breakers are fine, and there’s still no power, take some simple steps to keep the holidays going.
One of the best tools to have on hand in case of power outages is a gas-powered generator. Since generators can produce a wide range of electrical outputs, deciding on which one you need is dependent on your budget. A small 900-watt generator can power some lights and the TV, while a 9000-watt max generator could power a full set of appliances, which could come in handy if the Christmas ham is roasting in the oven when the power goes out.
If you don’t want to invest in a generator, and if you have gas appliances, they can serve as a heat source, especially if you don’t have a fireplace!
Most Common Heating Holiday Emergency: Furnace Malfunction
Keeping your home cozy and warm during the holidays provides an inviting atmosphere for your guests; however, if your furnace goes on the fritz, your home can quickly turn frigid.
Depending on your level of expertise, fixing a furnace can be done quickly, or may require a professional. Easy fixes range from ensuring the pilot light hasn’t gone out or resetting the motor, and many of these basic troubleshooting instructions can be found here. If you aren’t exactly sure what is causing the problem, and you have guests visiting for the holidays, a professional heating and cooling expert can handle the repair and make sure everyone stays comfortable during the festivities.
Did you know that most furnaces have a life expectancy of 16-20 years? If you aren’t sure how old your furnace is a good point of reference is if your furnace has a pilot light. Since modern furnaces use an electrical ignition, a furnace with a pilot light is an indication that you may need to upgrade!
Most Common Home Holiday Emergency: Leaking Roof
A drip from the roof can be a nuisance beyond having to place a bucket to catch the water. Soaked insulation won’t be as effective, if it works at all, and can provide a birthplace for mold to begin infecting your home. Additionally, if you have an attic with exposed electrical wiring, a leaky roof can lead to a fire that can destroy your home.
When you notice a leak in your roof, immediate action is essential. A licensed roofing professional will be able to diagnose what is causing the leak, make the necessary repairs, and look for other potential hazards that can wreak havoc later down the line.
We Want to Hear From You!
How have you handled a holiday emergency? What are some other key holiday emergencies you’ve experienced that are not listed above? Let us know in the comments below!