Winter wallop coming: Are your holiday inflatables safe?
As you prepare for snow, freezing temperatures, and gusty winds over the next few days, you might want to pay some attention to inflatable holiday decorations in your yard.
21 News Chief Meteorologist Eric Wilhelm is calling for snow beginning Friday with wind chills below zero and gusts reaching 50 miles per hour into Christmas Eve.
The following tips on protecting your holiday inflatable are from seasonsinflatables.com, Home Depot, and Christmas.com.
The following precautions should be followed during extreme winter weather conditions:
FREEZING TEMPERATURES: Airblown Inflatables will operate at temperatures below freezing. However, operating the decoration is not recommended if temperatures drop below 14°.
HARSH WINDS/STORMS: Operation of an Airblown during extreme weather conditions, such as harsh winds and storms, is not recommended, as the inflatable may become damaged or inundated with moisture.
SNOW/ICE: If your Airblown is covered in a light dusting of snow while deflated, simple reinflation should not cause damage. If the deflated decoration has been subjected to a large amount of snow and/or ice, don't try to reinflate it. Instead, carefully remove the item from the snow and ice, allowing it to thaw before reinflating.
Leaving an inflatable out for days or weeks if you expect large and heavy snowfall to build up is not recommended.
HEAVY RAINFALL/MELTING SNOW: If the inflatable has become soaked with water from heavy rainfall or melted snow and you are having trouble inflating it, move the decoration to a dry location plug it in. The fan will dry the unit. If there is a large amount of water, open the zipper closest to the soaked area and drain the water.
LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION:
Home Depot recommends against placing inflatables in low areas where puddles form.
Once you've inflated your decoration, use the included tethers to stake it, following the manufacturer's directions. These will help keep it grounded when strong winds blow.
Make sure not to block the air intake for the fan. If possible, try to place inflatable decorations near a wall or bush that can offer some protection from gusty winds. An excellent way to keep inflatable Christmas decorations from being blown away is to attach them to a solid object like a tree or fence.
TETHER AND STAKE:
Tether lines and ground stakes are included with most blow-up decorations. Find the anchor rings sewn into the inflatable and use the tether to tie down the decoration to ground stakes that have been pounded securely into the ground. If you are placing your Christmas blow-up decoration on concrete or another surface where you can't use ground stakes, you may be able to anchor the ornament to a fence, wall, or tree.
Use twine to secure an inflatable lawn decoration that doesn't have tether lines or anchor rings. Wrap the twine around the inflatable, being careful not to restrict air flow, and tie it to ground stakes or a solid object.
While ground stakes are generally effective in anchoring Christmas yard decor, additional security may be needed in open or windy areas or for larger figures. A simple solution is to tie bags of sand or gravel to the inflatable item's anchor rings to help weigh it down.
Although inflatables are generally snow-resistant, some manufacturers also recommend moving them inside if the temperatures drop below freezing. Most should be brought inside temporarily if several days of heavy snow are predicted.
If your inflatable deflates in winter rain or snow, let it thaw completely before inflating it again. Some inflatables come with patch kits so you can mend small tears. If yours doesn't have one, try repairing it with duct tape or clear, heavy-duty packaging tape. If you can apply the tape from inside the inflatable, it will be less noticeable.