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Homeowner's Guide to Prepare your Home for a Freeze

Homeowner’s Guide to Prepare your Home for a Freeze

The next couple of days we will be experiencing freezing temperatures throughout the Houston area. Being down South we know how to prepare for a hurricane, but sometimes don’t know how to prepare for a hard freeze. 

10 tips for protecting your home from freezing temperatures:

  • Keep your home heated to a minimum of 65 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where the pipes are located are colder than the walls themselves. If you keep the inside temperature set at 65 degrees or higher it will help to keep the inside walls from freezing potentially avoiding a busted pipe.
  • Know where the location for your main water shutoff is in your home. This is important to refresh your memory and know how it works, in case of the event one of your pipes burst. This is typically in the garage or right before the water goes in the garage outside. You will know exactly where it is and how to shut it off, this will help to decrease the amount of damage a busted pipe will create.
  • Open your hot and cold faucets enough to let them drip slowly. In severely low temperatures, keep water moving in your pipes to help prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Keep your fireplace flute closed if you are NOT using it. The cooler outside air can rush down the chimney shaft. These backdrafts may be prevented if the damper is kept closed when you are not using your fireplace.
  • Make sure your fireplace is working properly. You want to have your fireplace checked out by a professional to ensure everything is clean and working properly before you use it to avoid a house fire.
  • If you have a swimming pool, run your pool pumps at night. This will keep the water flowing through the pipes and help prevent the pipes from freezing.
  • Double check dead/damaged tree branches and have them removed. Trees can be affected by ice, snow, and wind. When they become stressed, they can fall and damage your home or your car.
  • Bring in your Potted plants. Even a plant that are hardy to your zone can be hit hard when planted in a container during the winter months. When the temperatures get to freezing level the roots in pots are unable to acclimate. The easiest way to protect your potted plants is to bring them indoors. If that isn’t an option, shield them from the wind by placing them under a covered patio and close to your home.
  • Don’t forget about the pets. Dogs and cats should be kept inside during the cold weather. It is a common belief that since dogs and cats have fur, they are more resistant to cold weather than people. This is not true, they are susceptible to frostbite and hypothermia, and when the temperatures drop should be kept inside to keep them safe.
  • Make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and debris. Ice can build up in your gutters, causing water to build up and seep into your home. During the winter months make sure your gutters are clear of leaves and any debris to allow runoff from melting snow and ice flow freely.

If you follow these tips, you will be able to potentially avoid winter weather hazards to your home. But what do you do in the event of a problem?

  • First turn off your main water. You will know exactly where your main water is if you follow our tips.
  • Properly dry and repair any water damage immediately. This will prevent any mold issues to your home.
  • Call your Homeowner Insurance company after you get the water cleaned up. It is important to call as soon as possible and file a claim so you can get an adjuster out to inspect damages and get your claim processed. (You will want to know and have your Homeowner Insurance company name, number, and account number readily available, so you don’t have to spend time looking for this information)
  • Call a plumber as soon as possible to come out and get your pipe repaired. You will not be able to use the water in your home until the busted pipe is repaired and sometimes it can be a few weeks until an adjuster can come out. (Make sure to take pictures of all the damage and the damaged pipe, save the invoice from your plumber, and take pictures of the repair he did so you have all this to present to the insurance company.)

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