Useful Apps

  • Sign up for AlertSeattle, the city’s emergency alert system that delivers texts, emails and voice calls about power outages, missed garbage pickups and water-service issues.
  • In the event that the city needs to come out and fix something (fallen tree, pot holes in the road) use the city’s Find it, Fix it app to report the problem.

Before the Bad Weather Arrives

  • Add caulk and weatherstripping to your floating home’s doors and windows. Caulk around pipes entering the house as needed.
  • Ensure there’s enough insulation in outside walls and roof.
  • Make sure each houseboat on the dock has an easy to locate water shut off vale, and that other homeowners know how to find it.
  • Make sure your floating home is level and that your waste line in properly sloped. Any belly in the pipe will freeze solid and whatever you have been trickling down the sink will come up through the toilet and lowest shower.
  • Insulate waterlines that are running along your home’s exterior walls, as well as pipes in unheated areas such as the garage, basement and crawl space.
  • Apply heat tape to water lines if required.
  • Remove and drain your hose pipes, then insulate outdoor spigots with faucet covers.
  • Have your fireplace, chimney and flue professionally inspected.
  • Test all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and make sure those that require backup batteries have a working set.
  • Make sure you know where the main shutoffs for water, electricity and gas are located.
  • Buy and store de-icer, rock salt or sand, and a heavy-duty snow shovel.
  • Keep a small supply of tinned/dried food on hand to last till you can get to Pete’s.
  • Gather blankets, sleeping bags and cold-weather clothing that can be worn in layers, along with mittens, wool caps and socks in case you lose power and heat.
  • Set your furnace thermostat to no lower than 55 degrees, even if you’re leaving the house. Keep doors and windows covered and close off unused rooms to conserve heat.
  • Pipes are more likely to freeze when outdoor temperatures fall below 20 degrees. You can help prevent waterlines along exterior walls from freezing by opening the cabinet doors beneath bathroom and kitchen sinks. In addition, locate the interior faucet that’s furthest from your front door or the water shutoff valve and allow it to dribble cold water continuously.
  • If you park your car outside, lift the windshield wipers away from the screen, or cover it to avoid ice and snow buildup.
  • Alert your neighbors on your dock using whatever messaging system you have in place to remind people to turn on taps when the temperature is going to drop.

When the Bad Weather Event Happens

  • Check for wind damage, frozen pipes and any loss of water, electricity or heat.
  • If water does not come out when you turn the tap on, and you suspect the pipe has frozen (which will typically happen where a pipe runs along an outside wall or enters the home, or goes round a bend), close the main shutoff valve to prevent flooding and call a plumber for repair or replacement right away.  Check out our Floating Home Services page if you need a diver.
  • While you wait for the diver, couple of things you are can are positioning a hair dryer to blow on the affected pipe for an hour or so (assuming it is safe to do so). Another thing that will help is pouring buckets of lake water over the frozen pipe.
  • If you lose power, try to keep refrigerators and freezers closed to preserve your food supply as long as possible.
  • Never turn on a gas stove to generate heat, or use any gas, charcoal or propane devices to heat your home or cook meals indoors. And don’t use a portable generator inside the house or in a garage or carport. They should be placed at least 20 feet away from the house and kept well-protected from rain and snow
  • If there is snow, clear ice-covered sidewalks, porches, steps and driveways using sand, rock salt or another de-icing product, and shoveling. Seattle’s municipal code states homeowners are responsible for maintaining clear sidewalks abutting their property.
  • If there is a large accumulation of snow on your roof, and it is safe to get up there, shovel it off. Especially if you are on a log float, to avoid tippage.
  • Report pot holes, fallen trees, flooding etc to the city using Find it, Fix it.