A bad situation can become rapidly worse if a home's pipes freeze or heater malfunctions. The above video shows some simple steps that homeowners and renters can take to prevent those from happening, but here are some additional tips from AOL Real Estate's archives:
Use safe heat sources to thaw pipes. A blow dryer or space heater should be able to thaw pipes that have frozen. Don't use open flames, such as those coming from a blow torch, which can be extremely dangerous. Keep faucets open so water can begin to flow once thawed.
Close curtains. Unless there's warm sunlight coming in, keep drapes closed to help insulate your home and keep the warmth inside.
Cover cracks in windowsills and thresholds. If you don't have draft snakes, use rolled-up bath towels.
Cover or remove window air conditioners. Heat escapes when air conditioning units are left in the windows of your home in winter. If you can't take them out, cover them with something that will seal the cracks around the window.
Spray an ice repellent or salt your steps and walkways. (It could get you in trouble if you don't.)
Insulate cold-sensitive plants. Add extra mulch around plants to keep them from drooping too much under snow, and cover them to keep them from being hurt by frost. Don't leave plants in containers outside.
Disconnect garden hoses. Drain them and cover exposed faucets and other plumbing with insulating foam covers.
Drain birdbaths and fountains. As with hoses and other plumbing, frozen water could damage them.
Don't touch the roof. If there are any roof projects you've been meaning to get to, it's not the time to do them during freezing weather.
More about protecting homes from severe weather:
Energy Efficient Homes for Winter Cost Savings
Adding Home Insulation to Your Rental
Advantages of Living in a Dome Home
More on AOL Real Estate:
Find out how to calculate mortgage payments.
Find homes for sale in your area.
Find foreclosures in your area.
Find homes for rent in your area.