As Houstonians, we don’t get a lot of experience with freezing temperatures. A hard freeze may only come around once a year if it comes at all. Regardless, you need to be prepared. Even though we do have some false alarms from time to time, the impact a freeze can have on your home can be very costly. So be prepared!.  Here are some tips for preparing your home when the weather falls below 32 degrees.

1. Insulate your pipes and faucets

During a freeze, the water in your pipes can freeze. The pressure caused during this process can cause to pipes to break, which is obviously a serious and costly problem. Pipe insulation materials, faucet socks, and slip-on faucet protectors are ways to keep the pipes warm. You can typically find them at Lowes, Home Depot, or your favorite neighborhood hardware store.

You can also use a towel to wrap your facets. However, keep in mind that towels hold moisture, so only use them for a day or two. Otherwise, they can cause your facets to rust out.

2. Turn off your sprinkler system and make sure the backflow preventer is drained

You won’t need to worry about watering your yard during a freeze, so just turn that system off completely.  After you turn it off, you will want to drain the system to release the water still in the pipes. They also make bags to wrap the backflow preventer to help protect the system if you want to go next level.

Click here for a video to show you how this is done.

3. Keep your faucet lightly dripping, especially if you live in an old home

Keeping your faucets lightly dripping during a hard freeze keeps the water moving, which will help keep the water from freezing and the pipes from busting. Because of the materials used when older homes were built, this can be especially important.

4. Bring your plants inside or cover them up

When there is a freeze, some plants will die. If they’re in a pot, bring them inside your home or garage. If they’re planted in a garden, you can cover them with an old sheet or buy a plant cover.

5. Turn your home’s heater on and open all under sink cabinets

This is especially important to remember if your home is vacant. Most people forget about their vacant listings since having the heater off isn’t impacting their personal comfort. Keeping your heater on during a freeze can help protect the pipes since some of that heat will radiate through the walls and help keep them from freezing. After you’ve turned on the heater, open up the cabinet doors underneath all bathroom and kitchen sinks. This will help keep them warm during the freeze.

6. Bring pets inside

When temperatures dip below freezing, it’s best to bring your furry friends to come in from out of the cold.