The events of February 2021 in Texas were a stark reminder of how harsh winter weather can be, even if such events are rare. However, it doesn't take a state-wide power outage or polar vortex for cold temperatures to wreak havoc on your home. Even milder cold fronts can cause outdoor pipes and plumbing to freeze and burst if your home needs to be properly winterized. Thankfully, winterization practices are straightforward and cost-effective compared to the damages resulting from a broken pipe.
Below, we'll cover the basic steps you'll want to take to winterize a house.
- Winterize windows and doors by inspecting your windows to make sure they are properly sealed and cover any holes with a durable caulk or weatherstripping. It’s also important to check the weatherstripping around your door frame and replace it if worn or damaged.
- Check for cracks in and around your walls and seal them with caulk. Although doors and windows are the most likely areas of your home to have cracks and gaps, you'll want to thoroughly inspect your home's interior and exterior portions as you take steps to winterize your house.
- Inspect the roof, clean gutters, and trim trees. Hot air rises, so your roof must be properly winterized.
- Insulation in your attic plays a major role in keeping your home warm during the cold days of winter. When winterizing your house, take a peek in the attic to ensure that all the insulation is in good shape.
- Most house fires happen in winter. Test all smoke detectors to ensure they are working and have good batteries. If your home does not have carbon monoxide detectors, consider getting some.
- Ensure you are signed up to receive communications from TWC to stay informed about any outages by signing up through the customer portal.
Sprinkler systems and their pipes can be prone to freezing during winter months. Here are some tips to prevent that from happening. How to winterize a sprinkler system
- Place an insulating dome or foam cover on outdoor faucets, spigots, and backflow preventers to reduce the likelihood of water pipes freezing and expanding.
- You can also purchase insulated bags and/or insulated/decorative rocks to protect and conceal above-ground backflow preventers.
- Insulate pipes exposed to the elements or cold drafts with foam insulation. Newspapers, towels, or blankets can also provide insulation, but these items can cause the insulation to freeze if they become wet. Cover them with a plastic bag or tape to keep them as dry as possible.
- We do not recommend using blowtorches, kerosene, propane heaters, charcoal stoves, or other open-flame devices to thaw frozen pipes. We recommend insulating your pipes to prevent this from happening.
Shutting off water during winter can be an excellent idea for those who leave town for the holidays or have vacation homes in the service area. If you turn off the
water, leave the faucets on to drain the pipes when the water is turned off.
- This will empty the water plumbing, which could freeze and rupture the pipes.
- However, turn the faucets back to the off position before turning the water back on to the home.
- Texas Water can shut your water off in the event of an emergency. However, we do not make repairs beyond the meter connection on the customer's side of the water meter. Click here to learn more about how to find your meter.
- Preparing irrigation systems for cooler weather in our service area is essential. This short video below provides tips on preparing irrigation systems.