Prepare for freezing and icy weather in North Texas

Weather forecasts predict temps today will be cold… and get colder. With freezing temps on the way to North Texas, its time again to consider the 4 Ps — protecting people, pets, pipes and plants during the freezing temps.

Pets – Do NOT leave pets outside. Even the healthiest outdoor dogs and cats will need warmth when the temperatures dip. If you cannot have animals in the house, consider boarding them at a pet care facility when the weather is cold.

Pipes – Pipes that are not insulated should be allowed to drip (both the cold and the hot water faucets). During the night, when temps drop below freezing and thermostats are usually lowered, leave the cabinet door to the under the sink area propped open to allow heat to the plumbing. This is often needed if the plumbing is in an outside wall that is not well insulated. This space will often get colder than the room during freezing temperatures. Be sure the open cabinet does not contain hazardous materials that can be accessed by children or pets.

Disconnect garden hoses outside the house to prevent water from freezing and breaking faucet. Wrap the faucet with insulation or a cloth and cover. Consider investing in a cover for the outside faucets.

The swimming pool pump should be running to prevent damage to the pump. Most pool equipment timers have sensors that will turn the pump on when temperatures reach freezing.

Plants – Winter garden plants and flowers need to be covered or brought indoors. Bed sheets are often used for cover; some gardeners put shop lights under the sheets to keep the plants from freezing. Plastic can kill plants so is not recommended as a cover. Its good to uncover plants a couple of hours after daylight and cover them again at dark. Any watering should be done before midday so plants are not wet or damp when temperatures reach freezing.

Protecting yourself, pets, plants and pipes takes a little preparation and basic common sense. Stock up on needed items and food, and stay safe and warm.

The North Texas Municipal Water District (NTMWD) urges customers to prepare for freezing, icy weather.

Wylie, Texas (Dec 3, 2013) — Officials with the NTMWD urge homeowners and business water customers to prepare now for freezing and icy weather forecast for North Texas. Water District suggests outside faucets be protected and automatic sprinkler systems turned OFF.

To help prevent broken pipes and water leaks outside the home or business, NTMWD officials recommend customers cover all outside water spigots using common Styrofoam covers or other materials that will insulate the spigots during freezing temperatures. Before covering, outdoor water spigots should be inspected for leaks and repaired. Water district officials also recommend automatic sprinklers and other irrigation systems, such as drip irrigation, be turned OFF at the control box.

“Protecting faucets and turning off sprinkler systems helps prevent damage to pipes caused by freezing weather,” said Jim Parks, Executive Director of NTMWD. “While many member and customer cities require freeze sensors on sprinkler systems, some systems may not have the freeze sensors and if scheduled watering occurs during freezing weather, dangerous icing to streets and sidewalks can result from misdirected sprinkler heads or overwatering,” Parks added.

While NTMWD customers can water their landscapes once every two (2) weeks under the current Stage 3 water restrictions, experts state that warm season grasses go dormant during winter months and little or no supplemental water is needed.

More information on water conservation can be found at www.wateriq.org and www.ntmwd.com.

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