It’s official : we are about to have our entire winter season all in the span of one weekend. It is hard to believe that yesterday we were in shorts and flip-flops and today we are back in our jackets. But such is life in the Coastal Bend in the “winter” months. Since we have not had a really bad south Texas freeze in a while, I wanted to give us all some prep tips for our home!
If you are new to our area and our weather, let me warn you, this is NOT abnormal in any way. The weather during these wintery months can be fickle and swing 20-30 degrees within a single day.
This weekend the weather forecasters are saying we are going to have temps in the mid to low 20’s between Monday and Tuesday and say we should prep for freezing temps. That means you need to think about the 3 P’s and get ready for a South Texas freeze!
Protect your Pipe’s
- Seal leaks that allow cold air inside near where pipes are located. Use caulk or insulation to keep the cold out and the heat in. Even small openings can let in enough cold to freeze a pipe,
- Protect faucets, outdoor pipes, and exposed pipes in unheated areas. You can go to Walmart or Lowe’s and get the fancy covers, or you can simply use old rags, newspapers, even trash bags to help insulate them.
- Drain, disconnect and store your outside water hoses.
- Open your cabinets under sinks in your kitchen and bathrooms, this allows the heat from indoors to help keep your pipes warmer.
- Do not set your temp indoors any lower than 55 degrees (burrrr, P.S. If you keep your temps below 69 in the winter please let me know so I can dress REALLY warmly at your house, LOL) Especially if you will be away from the house for more than a day, have someone you trust to check on the temp inside.
- Let indoor faucets drip. It is not necessary for you to have a big stream of water, but a slow drip helps to relieve the pressure that occurs in the colder temps and can lead to burst pipes if it does get an ice blockage. (Note: this does waste water so you will want to only do this on pipes that are vulnerable to freezing like running through an unheated or unprotected space)
- Make sure you know where your shut off valves are. And then know how to turn them off and on just in case.
Protect your Plants
- If you have potted plants bring them inside, or at least into a garage to help protect them from the freezing temps.
- Cover the plants that you can not move. They do make Frost Cloths made specifically for this purpose, but if you can not find one you can use a blanket or a sheet. Tarps are not a good option because your plant still needs to be able to breathe. And it can’t just sit on top it needs to be wrapped around so that it blocks the wind. You can read more and get more thorough instructions here and here!
- Don’t wait until it is too cold, START NOW!!!!!
Protect your Pets
- IF YOU ARE COLD SO ARE YOUR PETS!!!!!!! Sorry didn’t mean to get all yell-y here but seriously. If you are cold, so are your poor pets. Please make sure to bring them inside!
- If you have livestock make sure they are in a sheltered area. (Not expecting you to have your chickens and cows in the kitchen!)
- Make sure they have plenty of food and water, animals actually need to consume more in the winter months to keep up their energy. (I’ll say it again…..BECAUSE THEY ARE COLD!!!!!)
BONUS P ….. Protect your People
- Please make sure to protect your people! That means sending kids with a jacket to school (I know they probably won’t wear it but you know shove it in their backpack!)
- Make sure Grandma and Grandpa are ready for the cold weather. Many of us have been separated from our grandparents/great-grandparents this last year, and you may still not feel comfortable going over for a visit, but please make sure their house is ready for a freeze and set up a time to safely prep their home as well!
Okay, I hope you are all using this time to prep your 3 P’s for this South Texas Freeze and that you can all stay snuggly and warm until this passes and we are back to the warm temps we all love to hate in the summer.