Winter’s in full swing

Published 8:20 pm Tuesday, December 26, 2017


Here in eastern North Carolina, it’s usually the hot, steamy summers, or hurricanes, that have people complaining about the weather. It’s a pretty temperate region in the winters, however, every now and then, there’s a dip in temperatures that brings to mind more northern climes.

Such an event will happen this week, with overnight temperatures diving into the teens over the weekend. And with cold weather comes being prepared for the cold.

One of the most charming aspects of Washington and Beaufort County’s other municipalities is the history and historic structures, and when it comes to old houses, drafts are not far behind, which puts a load on any heating system in place. The impulse might be to find auxiliary heating sources to even out the cost, but when doing so, there are some things to look out for.

Before starting a wood-burning fire, make sure that chimney is clear. During summer months, chimneys are a favorite nesting place for birds and starting a fire below where birds have nested for a season is highly dangerous. It’s not just upward one should be concerned about, either. Outward projection of popping embers can ignite flammable material within a few feet of a fire — make sure glass doors or a fire screen are in place whenever a fire is lit.

Kerosene heaters and electric heaters can be helpful when trying to heat a particular space, but placement is key. Keep these heaters out of pathways, so there’s less of a chance they’ll get knocked over and, again, ignite flammable material. However, don’t put them next to curtains, furniture or anything else that may catch fire. With kerosene heaters, make sure to fill them up outside because a spill of kerosene fuel inside the house could be disastrous.

As always, wrap any exposed pipes and cover any exposed spigots to help prevent pipes from freezing.

Just like hurricanes give a couple days of advance notice, so does cold weather. Being prepared is key to staying warming and weathering the season.