As winter weather rolls in this week, it will undoubtedly bring back memories of last year’s historic freeze for many of us. Regardless of what mother nature has in store, we want to make sure you and yours are prepared to handle anything that comes your way.
Last year’s winter storm prompted us to reach out to some of our favorite inspectors and insurance agents to get advice on what to do should you have any weather-related emergencies with your home.
Justin Gow, owner of Metroplex Property Inspections has a few great tips for any homeowner or renter in North Texas facing colder than normal winter temps.
- Disconnect hoses and wrap all exterior hose bibs on the outside of your home. First, wrap them with dry towels and then put anything you can find to insulate on top of that. Styrofoam cups can be found at Home Depot or Lowe’s or you can use leftover materials found in your home to help.
- Drip all of the faucets in your home. The north-facing faucets are especially at risk, so make sure those are dripping.
- Open cabinets under the faucets, this lets in additional warm air to help.
- Close the blinds and shutters to keep warm air in.
- Wear layers of clothes and wrap yourself in blankets.
- For your car, never put hot water on the windows to dethaw them, it could make the glass vulnerable to breakage.
- Gas meters are weatherproof but they can get ice stuck to them which can impact effectiveness. Atmos recommends removing ice with a broom or a brush to keep it clear of issues. (Never scrape with a sharp object)
- Atmos also recommends lowering your water heater temperature to 120 degrees as that can account for up to 25% of your energy consumption.
- Lower your thermostat to 68 degrees.
What do I do if a pipe bursts? Justin recommends these quick steps. If a pipe bursts:
- Turn off the water to your house
- Open your faucet valves to let out any water in the pipe.
What about pools? What happens if the power goes out? Without the pump running, you are in danger of your pump, filter and/or heater freezing solid and bursting pipes or containers. Doug Treuter, pool inspector recommends the following in a winter storm:
- Turn off the breaker in your breaker box that is marked “Pool” or something similar. This will prevent the pump from trying to come back on once the electricity comes back on.
- Open the drain plug on the bottom of your pump. This is usually located somewhere close to the ground level.
- Open the drain plug on your filter. Again, close to the ground.
- Open the drain plug on the bottom intake of your heater manifold.
- Raise the water level as high as possible
- Go ahead and leave those plugs off until power comes back on and replace them before starting the equipment again.
If you have significant damage that needs repair, it may be best to get your insurance company involved. Judy Hutcheson & Leah Leatherman with Fellers Insurance recommend the following: (Leah@FellersInsurance.com, 469-840-5779)
- Take pictures of the damage
- Call your insurance agent and discuss filing a claim. Also, make sure to ask what your deductible amount is so you can assess whether or not it’s worth opening up a claim
- Call water restoration company if needed
- Clean up the water/mess and use fans to help dry out the sheetrock and floor
- If a tree falls on your house, consider filing a claim if the damage would be over the deductible amount
If you need resources or contractors to assist you, please feel free to reach out to our Van Poole Properties Team and we’re happy to get you names of people that our clients have used with success in the past. Our number for quick reference is 214-267-9222.
- I have had power out for over a few hours, who do I call? Oncor Power Outage – 888-313-4747 (they also have a text service and app)
- I have a gas outage, who do I call? Atmos Energy – 866-322-8667
- If you see an animal left outside without shelter – call 311 to report the location & animal.