Frigid temperatures spurred on by what’s known as a polar vortex have Midwestern real estate investors and homeowners scrambling to prepare their properties for the extreme weather.

As the polar vortex pushed temperatures in Chicago to 21 degrees below zero on Wednesday, homeowners would be wise to take precautions against costly damages and repairs.

Here are some expert tips on how to prepare for the extreme cold.

Insulate when you can

Unless you have direct sunlight, keep your drapes and blinds closed to insulate heat. Cover all window unit air conditioners that let cold air pour into the home. Next, insulate your electrical outlets and switches on exterior walls with foam seals that are available at most home improvement stores. You can also circulate warm air better by running ceiling fans on low in reverse.

Open your cabinet doors

HouseLogic recommends opening any cabinet or closet doors that cover plumping.

“This allows the home’s warm air to better circulate, which can help prevent the exposed piping from freezing,” HouseLogic said. “While this won’t help much in pipes hidden in walls, ceilings, or under the home, it can keep water moving and limit the dangerous effects of freezing weather.”

Run your indoor faucets

Occasionally run your faucets to slow down the freezing process. HouseLogic suggests about five drips per minute.

Change your heater’s filter

Not only is a clogged filter more inefficient, but in the extreme cold, it will entail your heater work harder for more time. Make sure you check your heater annually — preferably before winter hits — and regularly change your filters. A clogged filter can also adversely affect the life of your heater.

Shut off outdoor spigots

Check outdoor connections and make spigots are off and drained. Ensure all hoses have been disconnected, too.

If your pipes are frozen

In the unfortunate event that your pipes are already frozen, shut off your water immediately. Shut off any external water sources, including as garden hoses. That will prevent more water from filling your system as well as help prevent flooding after the pipes have thawed, said HouseLogic.

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  • Bobby Burch

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