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Actions to Take to Protect Property Damage During Freezing Weather


CleverJourneys offers readers the following tips for preventing property damage during freezing weather:

Before Freezing Weather

  • Wrap all exposed pipes located outside or in unheated areas of the home.
  • Remove garden hoses from outside faucets. Insulate outside faucets with Styrofoam cover, rags or paper.
  • Cover vents around the foundation of your home.
  • Know where your property owner’s cut-off valve is located and how to use it. Apply oil such as WD-40 to the cut-off valve before operating to prevent the valve from breaking. The valve is located adjacent to the water meter box under a 6″ metal lid.

In Sub-Freezing Weather

  • Drip outside faucets 24 hours a day (5 drops per minute). This is not necessary unless temperatures are expected to be 28 degrees or below for at least 4 hours. (Be sure to turn off the faucets after the threat of freezing weather.)
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.
  • In unheated garages, shut off water to washing machines. Water softeners should be drained and protected from freezing temperatures.
  • In sustained sub-freezing weather, let water drip slowly from inside faucets.
  • Take extra precautions to protect pipes that have frozen in the past.

If You Are Not Going To Be Home

  • Shut water off at the property owner’s cut-off valve.
  • Drain all outside water faucets if your house will be unoccupied for several days (leave outside faucets open).
  • Or, leave home heating system on at a low setting.
  • Open cabinet doors under sinks adjacent to outside walls.

Renters and tenants may be responsible for their personal property damage caused by broken water pipes during severe weather conditions. Residents should contact property management/landlord or maintenance personnel to locate property owner’s cut-off valve and find ways to avoid pipe breakage during a freeze.

Jack Dennis directed Facilities Management for all H-E-B FOOD STORES in the 1980s-90s-2000s. In part, this included overseeing mitigation, prevention, maintenance and emergency operations for retail centers, manufacturing, warehouses, offices and real estate properties.

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