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AUSTIN, Texas – When it comes to protecting pipes, a little water can go a long way.
“So what you’re looking for is just a drop or two every few seconds,” said Vic Fredlund, HVAC manager at Abacus Plumbing, Air Conditioning and Electrical. “It’s not a lot of water, but it’s enough to keep water moving in the pipe and not enough to have a detrimental effect on your water bill.”
Fredlund shared tips with FOX 7 for protecting homes when cold weather hits.
Along with dripping indoor and outdoor faucets, open cabinets to let warm air get to pipes. Outside faucets should also be covered with either a hose bib cover or an old t-shirt.
Fredlund said being proactive is key.
“If you wait until Friday to call us and say, ‘Our heat is not working,’ you’re going to be in line,” he said, noting they’ve already seen an uptick in calls.
Along with getting your heating system serviced and making sure your filter is changed, know where your main water shutoff valve is ahead of time in case a pipe does burst.
For those leaving town for an extended period this holiday, Fredlund recommended having someone check in on your home while you’re gone as a precaution.
When it comes to protecting plants, the Texas A&M Forest Service recommends bringing all potted plants inside during an expected freeze. Outside trees and plants can be insulated with mulch.
Lastly, keep an eye on your pets.
“The first thing that I want to remind people is that domesticated dogs aren’t wildlife,” said Stacy Sutton Kerby, director of government relations at the Texas Humane Legislation Network. “They’re not wolves, they’re not acclimated to living outdoors all the time in extreme temperatures.”
Under the Safe Outdoor Dogs Act that became law in January 2021, dogs have to have access to adequate shelter and drinkable water in all weather conditions. Those who violate that law can face fines or jail time.
“Don’t leave your dog unattended outside in extreme temperatures, be out there with them,” she said. “If you do out of necessity have to put them out for a while, check their water, because their water may freeze, too.”
Sutton Kerby did not recommend putting a space heater in a dog’s shelter due to fire hazard.
On Tuesday, Dec. 20, Councilmember Kelly’s field office will be providing meter keys, hose bib covers and winter weather preparedness tip sheets until supplies last. The event is from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at 10401 Anderson Mill Rd.