Chapter House Safety

Tips for while you're home and away

As the spring break travel season arrives, many Sigma Chi brothers will be packing up and heading south for warmer weather. Already this year, Sigma Chi has experienced nearly a dozen property claims related to freezing temperatures and busted pipes. To ensure your brothers do not return to a water-logged house, the house manager and top officers should enact a plan in coordination with the house corporation for property maintenance when brothers are away.

A few tips on how to keep your property safe.

If your campus is still fighting with winter, then before brothers leave for spring break, you should:

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in un-heated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where the water cut-off valve is located and how to use it.
  • Turn off irrigation systems to protect pipes and conserve water.
  • Leave home heating system on at a low setting.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.

If temperatures drop while brothers are on the beach, be sure the property manager or a local house corporation advisor can handle the following:

  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated areas, shut off water to washing machines.
  • If temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours, drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

Heater Safety

  • Have a professional inspect and service your central heating unit each year.
  • Keep the area around the central heating units clear, and clean filters regularly.
  • “Space heaters need space.” Heaters should be at least three feet away from anything that can burn, including the walls, curtains, and bedding.
  • Never leave space heaters operating when you are not in the room or away from the house.
  • Electrical and kerosene heaters should be equipped with a cutoff device that will automatically shut off if the unit is tipped over or overheats.
  • Make sure electric or kerosene heaters have the “UL” approval seal.
  • Never use heater/AC or water heater closets for storage.

Follow these tips, and enjoy your spring break knowing that your chapter house is prepared to deal with winter in your absence!