Cold weather hits Austin: People, Pets, Plants and Pipes - MyFoxAustin.com | KTBC Fox 7 | News, Weather, Sports

Cold weather hits Austin: People, Pets, Plants and Pipes

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With some seriously cold weather coming, there are a few things homeowners need to keep in mind besides bringing in pets and keeping themselves warm.

If you don't have a green thumb, chances are you've left some of your sensitive plants outside in freezing cold before.

So don't do that -- Crystal Burkett with "The Great Outdoors" says take them somewhere that blocks the wind at least...a covered porch or a garage.

Believe it or not, watering your plants might help in the cold too.

"If you give your plants a deep watering, the water can actually help to insulate the roots of the plants," Burkett said.

Burkett says you should cover any citrus trees...and if you haven't gotten around to taking your incandescent Christmas lights off of your citrus trees...you're in luck.

"Those incandescent bulbs just put out a tiny bit of warmth to keep the branches insulated," she said.

Pipe bursts seem to be the biggest problem when this weather hits.

Brad Casebeir with Radiant Plumbing and Air Conditioning says if the temperature is in the 20's for more than 12 hours, your pipes might burst.

He says on the outside of your house, unhook the hose and leave the bib dripping a little bit.

"But you want to come back in about 30 minutes and check it because there's a gasket in there that's actually gonna expand," Casebeir said.

Many homeowners put a Styrofoam cover over the bib but Casebeir says with temperatures like we'll have over the next couple of days, dripping is actually the best way.

"We have fixed a lot of broken pipes that were under those so when it gets cold enough and like tonight's weather, we might be okay with those, we're kind of on the edge, but if we go for 3 or 4 days in the 20's, it's gonna freeze right through that so that's not gonna save you, you're better off dripping.  It's only good for moderate freezes," he said.

Even for inside sinks, if the pipes are on an exterior wall...they could burst.

"To prevent that, you can actually trickle the water inside your house as well.  And you don't need a whole lot of flow to do it but I would do the hot and cold side," he said.

For extra protection, Casebeir says to open up those cabinets underneath to let the warm house air get in..

And if your pipes do burst...Casebeir says you'll want to go out to the homeowner shut-off by the street and turn your water off to prevent any further damage...then call a plumber.

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