Is Your Home Ready for Winter Weather? Here's a Checklist

Burst pipes last February put a big dent in many people's wallets.

While a repeat isn't expected during this week’s winter storm, Randy Watson, owner of At Ease Plumbing in Plano, shares some helpful reminders to get your home winter-weather ready.

Watson has been a plumber for 40 years. Damage from last February, he said, was the worst he'd seen since the 1980s.

He said common precautions at your home should work this time around and he recommended creating a “good steady drip” from both the hot and cold sides of your faucets.

“That was a mistake a lot of people made last year is they didn't run their hot water. Well, hot water freezes first so you need to make sure you're running your hot and cold water,” Watson said.

Remember to keep cabinet doors open so ambient heat surrounds the pipes.

Outside, Watson said to disconnect water hoses from faucets then cover the faucets with covers you can find at home supply stores.

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When it comes to your pool, he recommends keeping the pump on to prevent water in it from freezing, and if we lose electricity, you're “outta luck,” he said.

Lastly, knowing exactly where your water meter is ahead of time could help minimize water damage. “They're all out there by the street,” Watson said, adding that having the meter lock (if applicable) and shut-off keys handy are key to minimizing damage before a plumber can come and help.

“I'm ready for it,” he said.


With prolonged periods of sub-freezing temperatures, it's important to prepare your home for winter weather.

Remove hoses from outside spigots and cover them with an insulated faucet cover. The faucet cover comes with a plastic strap that fits around the spigot that you can then use to pull the cover snugly against the exterior of the home.

Be sure you know where your water main is located. They're typically in a box in the ground near the street. You should familiarize yourself with how to open the box (some of them have locks) and how to use a T-bar water main key or meter wrench to turn off the water at the main. Even if you don't have a water main key, a pair of pliers or a wrench can often be used to turn the valve off.

Cover sensitive outdoor plants with landscaping fabric or freeze protection bags to protect them from ice, sleet, snow, and cold wind. Sheets or blankets will also help. Plants that can be brought indoors can be kept in the garage.

If sprinkler systems are on a timer, turn them off so that the schedule doesn't run. This will keep water from covering and freezing on vegetation and roadways.

Drip your faucets -- but don't just drip the cold side, you need to drip both sides since hot water pipes will freeze first. Open cabinet doors to allow heat from the room to enter the areas under sinks.

If you have a pool, skim the water, empty the basket(s) so that the flow of water is unobstructed, and turn the pump on so that it's continually running while temperatures are below freezing. If you lose power, open the air relief valves, turn off the equipment and try to cover the exposed pipes with tarps or blankets to keep them from freezing.

Cold weather can be deadly for pets, just like humans, and they could suffer the effects of hypothermia and frostbite. Remember, pets should never be left outside unattended without food or shelter from the cold.