UPDATE: The National Weather Service has adjusted their forecast. The low on Saturday and Sunday is expected to hover around 31 degrees. A strong cold front will make its way through the area Friday night bringing freezing temperatures. The wind chill Saturday night will make it feel colder.
With the anticipated freezing temperatures, it is important to prepare.
Keep your water pipes from freezing. Freezing pipes can bust and be very expensive to replace. It's a good idea to drip your faucets and wrap all exposed pipes. Below are some additional tips to keep in mind.
- Keep the heat turned on
- Allow faucets to drip
- Keep interior doors open
- Seal up cracks and holes
- Apply heating tape
- Add extra insulation
If you have to be outside, please wear the appropriate clothing.
- Wear layers of loose-fitting, lightweight, warm clothing
- Wear a hat
- Try to stay dry and out of the wind
- Cover your mouth to protect your lungs from extreme cold
- Mittens, snug at the wrist, are better than gloves.
It is also very important that your pets have appropriate shelter from the freezing temperatures. As part of our Animal Ordinance, we've included the animal care portion below.
Sec. 4.04.005 Animal care
(f) An animal’s owner shall provide the animal with shelter that:
(1) Is large enough for the animal to enter, stand, turnaround, and lie down in a natural manner; a structure with three sides, a roof and a floor that prevents rain or other precipitation from entering; or a structure of dome, or other, shape with a floor that provides the animal with shelter from all weather conditions;
(2) Keeps the animal dry;
(3) Provides the animal with natural or artificial shade from direct sunlight;
(4) Protects the animal from excessive heat and cold and other adverse weather conditions
(5) Is adequately ventilated; and
(6) Large livestock shall be exempted.
- At 32 degrees water bowls will freeze, leaving pets without access to drinkable water
- Without shelter their bodies don't keep heat efficiently from the wind and elements
- Pets can go into shock, get frost bite to their exposed skin, can suffer irreversible organ failure and death
- Do not leave pets in a vehicle
Plants, gardens and flowerbeds should be covered to trap heat energy from the ground, according to the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service.
How to Protect Pipes From Freezing
Before the onset of cold weather, protect your pipes from freezing by following these recommendations:
- Drain water from swimming pool and water sprinkler supply lines following manufacturer's or installer's directions. Do not put antifreeze in these lines unless directed. Antifreeze is environmentally harmful, and is dangerous to humans, pets, wildlife, and landscaping.
- Remove, drain, and store hoses used outdoors. Close inside valves supplying outdoor hose bibs. Open the outside hose bibs to allow water to drain. Keep the outside valve open so that any water remaining in the pipe can expand without causing the pipe to break.
- Add insulation to attics, basements and crawl spaces. Insulation will maintain higher temperatures in these areas.
- Check around the home for other areas where water supply lines are located in unheated areas. Look in the garage, and under kitchen and bathroom cabinets. Both hot and cold water pipes in these areas should be insulated.
- Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a "pipe sleeve" or installing UL-listed "heat tape," "heat cable," or similar materials on exposed water pipes. Newspaper can provide some degree of insulation and protection to exposed pipes – even ¼” of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing.
- Consider relocating exposed pipes to provide increased protection from freezing.
How to Prevent Frozen Pipes
- Keep garage doors closed if there are water supply lines in the garage.
- Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals up out of the reach of children.
- When the weather is very cold outside, let the cold water drip from the faucet served by exposed pipes. Running water through the pipe - even at a trickle - helps prevent pipes from freezing.
- Keep the thermostat set to the same temperature both during the day and at night. By temporarily suspending the use of lower nighttime temperatures, you may incur a higher heating bill, but you can prevent a much more costly repair job if pipes freeze and burst.
- If you will be going away during cold weather, leave the heat on in your home, set to a temperature no lower than 55° F.
How to Thaw Frozen Pipes
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.