Does the Gulf Coast have an official “Winter”? Not by national comparison, but intermittent cold weather in this area can cause damage to homes, lawns, and pools. It is common to bundle up when it gets cold out there. Gloves, hats, scarves, jackets, and boots are a necessity for warm-blooded Texans when the temperatures begin to drop. In the same way, there are steps that can be taken to protect the home. Below are some tips for winterizing your home from Fort Bend County Municipal Utility District No. 122 (FBCMUD 122).
Best practices for protecting pipes
Draining the pipes prior to cold weather is usually a good idea, as still water within the lines can freeze and cause cracks. Take care to insulate all pipes that are exposed to the weather. Use pipe insulation foam to wrap around pipes and secure with strong tape. Other methods include using rags or towels to wrap the pipes; however, the insulating foam that is designed to do the job is the best bet. An insulating foam faucet cover can be used to protect outdoor faucets as well. Any exposed pipes, especially those that run along walls and outside, should be winterized against the elements. Ambient temperature can also drop in other places such as attics, causing damage during a freeze. Leave indoor faucets trickling during the cold snap to reduce pressure in the lines and prevent cracks.
Does the temperature inside the home make a difference?
Yes! It is good practice to turn on the heat prior to a big freeze. Open cabinets or leave them slightly ajar so that warm air can circulate around pipes that run through them. This will protect the pipes within the house.
What about sprinkler systems?
For the coldest months, protecting sprinkler systems is important. Most sprinkler installation and repair companies offer a sprinkler blowout service. Essentially, blowing out any standing water and draining the underground pipes reduces the risk of major damage to the system.
Does the pool need to be winterized?
Even in Texas some steps should be taken to ensure that pool equipment stays functional during winter. This includes modifying the amount of chemicals that are added to the water, increasing the frequency of cleaning out the skimmer and pump strainer, installing freeze protection equipment and/or running the pump 24/7 if there will be a freeze.
How to protect the lawn, plants, and garden
As the temperatures drop, it is important to prepare lawns and gardens for the colder weather. What is the best way to do this? Aerating, fertilizing, and watering are key to preparing lawns for winter and those cold snaps! Allowing more oxygen to the roots, feeding the grass with fertilizer that is designed for colder weather, and watering a couple of times per week will help prepare lawns for the colder season to come.
Again, for plants and gardens, watering is essential, being cautious not to overdo it. Watering too much could cause root rot. Colder temps may mean that plants don’t need as much water as they do in the Summer, yet enough so that they are not drying out. Another way to protect those plants is to mulch. Use straw, bark, or pine needles to create a barrier between the dirt at the base of the plant and the colder weather.
What about a freeze?
When a freeze is coming add a protective layer by covering plants with sheets or tarps. Try to avoid using plastic directly on the plant, as it does not provide the most protection. Instead, it is recommended to use cloth, burlap, or a professional plant cover.
Even if temperatures in the Gulf Coast area don’t ordinarily fall to a level consistent with our northern neighbors, protecting your home is paramount. Do you think your neighbors or friends would benefit from this information? Click the Share button above.