TIPS FOR WINTER WEATHER
Kim Sherman | December 22, 2022 | 12:28 CST
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
The weatherman is predicting a very hard freeze for Thursday and Friday night, with temperatures reaching down into the low teens on Thursday. Keep track of the weather here.
Unprotected pipes in your home have a high likelihood of freezing and bursting. Here are some tips to help protect those pipes. Don’t forget to bring in or cover tender plants and keep your pets warm and cozy as well. Stay safe and warm my friends!
First, make sure you have home insurance in place and that it covers sudden and accidental water damage. Call your insurance agent to double-check. If you need insurance, I highly recommend Ryan Thomas with the Brown Group. You can reach him at 512-523-4002 ext 102. You need insurance in place BEFORE you have damage and a claim.
Take steps now to prepare ahead of the freeze.
Wrap outdoor and indoor pipes in unheated areas. Don’t forget exposed pipes in your attic (the attic was the #1 place last winter where pipes froze!). You can get pipe insulation at Home Depot or Lowes.
Remove your water hoses from outdoor faucets and either cover your faucets with the faucet covers available at Home Depot or Lowes, wrap them with towels and duct tape, or my preferred method…simply turn your faucets on to run the width of your finger (note ice will accumulate on the ground as the water freezes so be careful when walking in this area after the freeze has started.)
Consider draining and turning off your inground sprinkler system if you have one. At a minimum, make sure you’ve turned your sprinkler system off until after the freeze. I found this handy dandy instructional video on YouTube.
Make sure you know where your water shutoff valve is located. Usually, it will be near the street between yours and your neighbor’s house, under a metal lid. Note you will need a “key” or other tools to turn the water off. If you don’t have a key, head over to Home Depot or Lowes to get one before they run out. These valves can be difficult to turn sometimes, so it’s not a bad idea to familiarize yourself with turning the water off now, rather than waiting until you have a problem. Here is a video I made a couple of years ago of how to shut off the water at the street. Note this was done a couple of years ago during the big freeze and snow event.
If you are traveling, consider turning off the water to your home, draining the pipes by opening up your interior and exterior faucets, and making sure you leave the heat on.
Thursday, before the temperatures drop, turn on all interior faucets (both hot and cold), including tubs and showers, and let them drip, especially those on exterior walls. Open the cabinets at your sinks to let the warm air circulate to warm your pipes. Water damage usually occurs when frozen and broken pipes thaw out. If you discover your pipes have frozen, it’s wise to turn off the water at the street, just in case you have a broken pipe.
It’s not a bad idea to prepare for the worst and do a little shopping ahead of time. Here are some items you might consider stocking up on now, before the freeze: three days worth of drinking water (1 gallon of water per person per day.), flashlights and batteries, nonperishable food, a manual can opener (in case we lose power) food for any pets, disposable plates, utensils and cups, candles and matches, first aid kit and don’t forget to refill prescriptions that may be running out soon.
If you have a plumbing emergency, your best bet is going to be to call one of the bigger companies such as Fox Plumbing, 512-488-1120, or Radiant Plumbing, 512-690-4935.
Stay safe, warm, and dry!