Our area is about to hit the first real freeze on the night of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Currently the extended forecast is: Partly cloudy. Lows in the upper 20s. Highs in the mid 40s. Wind chill readings 25 to 30. So what should we do to keep our property and pets safe? Here are some important tips.
Many home improvement stores and specialists recommend wrapping pipes when the forecast calls for freezing temperatures over an extended period of time. But don't just wrap them, turn your faucets on just enough to let them drip to keep water moving through the pipes. Exposed pipes are much more sensitive to freezing temperatures, and it's especially true in older homes. For homes that are raised off the ground, pipes can freeze more easily. For those of you just moving down here from the Northern states, this may sound unfamiliar, but don't let it fool you. Precaution is the name of the game.
If your home has laundry facilities or hot water heaters outside in the garage or in the attic, these pipes will burst. Make sure to care for these the same way you would with the faucets outside your house. Not following these precautions can cause a whole lot of damage.
Obviously pets from Texas are used to the nice warm climate. Make sure that you keep these babies indoors as much as possible. Watch for frozen water in bowls kept outside. This goes for cold-sensitive livestock as well. Keep the little ones as snuggly warm as you.
Worked hard to landscape your yard? Cover your plants during a freeze. Make sure the material you use is somewhat off of the plant because the cold will transfer through the solid blanket and freeze the outer leaves. Don't use a heavy blanket.. If you have potted plants that are too large to move indoors, you'll want to cover those as well. Covering the actual pot as well will help keep the roots from freezing.
Need help finding more information and supplies? Visit our local hardware stores.
7708 Lohmans Ford Road, Lago Vista
7401 Lohmans Ford Road, Lago Vista
Ah, heat pumps. You'll want to make sure you're taking care of these too! When temperatures drop, your first instinct is to raise that number on your thermostat. But what that does is actually force your pump to work harder than it should. Austin Energy recommends dropping the thermostat to 63 degrees or lower. Closing shades and blinds at night will help stop heat from radiating out of your home. And when your fireplace is not in use, be sure to check that the damper is closed.
Be smart with space heaters. Keep them away from flammable items such as curtains or bedding. The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) estimates that more than 25,000 residential fires and more than 300 deaths are caused each year by space heaters.
Driving in a freeze can be hazardous, especially on our hilly, twisting roads. Keep your speeds down. Use care when going around corners and turns in the road. If you do find yourself sliding, DO NOT hit the brakes. Instead, take your foot off the gas and slowly turn into the skid. For more information on how to drive in icy conditions, visit the AAA site which gives wonderful tips such as taking care not to drive when fatigued, keep your tires properly inflated, and more. Visit their site at: http://exchange.aaa.com/safety/driving-advice/winter-driving-tips/#.WjhM9PmnGHs.
USE THOSE HEADLIGHTS:
Lastly, if you're driving in low light, cloudy, or foggy weather, use your headlights. You may be able to see other drivers, but they usually can't see you. Let's stay safe out there, Lago.