Tips to winterize your home and help prepare for freezing temperatures

Are you prepared?

SAN ANTONIO – Many Texans may be concerned with how to winterize their homes to protect against the cold weather.

Here are some tips to help prepare for the freezing temperatures:

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  • Pipes - Insulating your pipes will help keep them warm and reduce the chance that they will freeze. Foam or fiberglass insulation sleeves work great. You can use insulation materials from local hardware stores or towels as a temporary option. Towels aren’t recommended for long terms use as they hold moisture and could eventually cause rust issues.
  • Pets - If it’s too cold for you, it’s likely too cold for your pets. Do not leave pets outside in freezing temperatures. Also, keep in mind, it is illegal to leave a dog outside without adequate shelter.
  • Plants - Covering your plants or bringing them indoors will help keep them healthy. Freezing temperatures tend to kill off flowery plants. Watering plants ahead of freezing weather is also a good way to help protect them.
  • Faucets - SAWS recommends leaving cabinet doors open under the kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer room air to circulate over the pipes. The utility company says letting faucets drip slowly to keep water flowing through pipes is not ideal, but it can help.

SAWS suggests knowing how to turn off the water supply to your house to help you avoid water damage from leaking pipes, dripping water heaters, frozen pipes or other causes.

CPS Energy also has an entire page of resources and tips for preparing for winter weather.

As a safety tip, CPS Energy officials say you should “never use a generator, camp stove, charcoal grill, gasoline heater, or propane heater indoors. These items can start accidental fires, cause electric shock, and cause deadly carbon monoxide poisoning.”

If you encounter icy roads or anticipate traveling in freezing conditions, the Texas Department of Public Safety offers the following tips:

  • Avoid unnecessary travel if possible, monitor local weather broadcasts, and follow up-to-the-minute weather conditions.
  • Avoid traveling when sleet, freezing rain or snow is predicted, and monitor road conditions by visiting Drive Texas or calling (800) 452-9292.
  • Ensure your vehicle has a full tank of gas.
  • If you must drive in inclement weather, allow extra time to reach your destination. Share your travel plans with a friend or family member so someone knows the route you’re taking.
  • Be aware that ice accumulates on bridges and overpasses before drivers may see it on roads, so approach them more slowly in winter weather.
  • On icy roads, drive slowly and increase the distance between your vehicle and others, as you may need additional room to stop.
  • Watch for downed trees and power lines. If a stop light is out, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
  • Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before any trip — check fluid and antifreeze levels before driving.

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