Central Florida freeze: Tips on how to prepare for chilly weather, hard freeze

Central Florida is about to get hit with the coldest temperatures of the season. If you haven't already broken out that winter coat, now's the time to do so!

With chilly temperatures expected to drop on Christmas Eve, many residents may feel caught off guard with how to prepare for such big weather changes in the Sunshine State. How do you keep your plants alive? Will your pipes be affected? How do you keep your family safe?

Now is the time to remember the "5 Ps " to prepare for the extreme cold. 


What are the 5 P's when preparing for cold weather?


Hypothermia can be a risk with prolonged exposure to cold weather, especially if a person is sweating or wet, Seminole County says. Be sure to bundle up and stay warm during the cold weather.


If you're cold, they're cold. Pets should be inside during extreme temperatures. Don't leave Fido and Fluffy outside!


When temperatures fall as low as they are forecast, your pipes may need extra protection.  Plumbers also suggest wrapping exposed pipes and possibly leaving some faucets on a light trickle.  Be sure to check outside for backflow devices or wall  faucets. 


When thinking about plumbing around your home, it might be easy to forget about the swimming pool.  If you own a pool, it is recommended that you keep your pool pump running to keep water moving through pipes in the ground or through rooftop thermal heating panels. Don't forget to adjust your timer. 


Hard freezes can easier kill plants. Be sure to bring them indoors or cover them up.  Experts recommend using frost cloth, sometimes known as "plankets" which are sold at plant nurseries and garden centers. If you can’t find frost cloth, you can use bedsheets, but make sure the sheet doesn’t have holes. Plastic sheets are not recommended.  Find more tips HERE.


You might call this one the "6th P." Use heating sources safely and according to instructions. Do not use fuel-burning devices inside. Also, be sure to check that your smoke alarms are in proper working order.  

RELATED: Here's why you don't plug space heaters into power strips

There are also a few heating myths that surface each winter in Florida:

Myth #1: Using several space heaters is more efficient than using your central heating system.

A small space heater can use as much as 13 to 14 amps of electricity. That means if you have two space heaters running, more electricity is being used than the roughly 20 amps used by an average 5kw central heating strip found in a typical 1,200 to 1,500 square foot home.

Myth #2: The higher you turn up your thermostat, the faster it will heat your home.

Not true. You can adjust your thermostat one or two degrees to the temperature where you feel comfortable, and the unit will run as long as it needs to get to those two degrees. Setting it ten degrees higher will not speed up the heating of the home.

Myth #3: Ceiling fans are only for summer.

Not the case. Running the ceiling fan in the traditional manner pulls the warm air from the ceiling down below and helps to circulate it around the room. As a result, you will be in contact with more of warm air.