Winter in Austin can be unpredictable but that doesn’t mean you have to be unprepared. After the last freeze in 2021, we’ve learned to stay ready so we don’t have to scramble. Here are some frosted tips to help keep your family and your home safe during freezing weather in Austin.
Before a Freeze:
Have Enough Drinking Water: 1 gallon per person per 7 days. Staple groceries and LOTS of snacks for the kiddos are also a must!
Locate Water Shut Off: You want to know where this is BEFORE an emergency. Make sure everyone in your residence knows where the water main shutoff valve is located and keep it clear. Renters, check with your property manager or landlord!
Exposed Pipes and Water Heaters: Take care to insulate pipes in unheated areas (think attic or garage!) Pro Tip: Check manufacturer guide for your water heaters!
Outside faucets: Turn them OFF, remove all connected hoses and wrap faucets with towels, socks or a Styrofoam insulator (best purchase!) Don’t forget the sprinkler systems!
If You’re Leaving Town: Not sticking around? Turn off your water at the meter and set your thermostat to 65 degrees or higher.
During Freezing Temps:
Protect Indoor Faucets: Open cabinets beneath kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warmer air to get in. These cabinets are likely baby-proofed because of chemicals and toxins found inside–take care to move these products and keep your littles safe!
Drip ONLY IF NEEDED! Drip one cold water faucet slowly if you feel your pipes may still be in trouble. The faucet you choose should be the one that is the greatest distance from your main shutoff valve. Pro Tip: save the water for future use. For informational videos and updated weather guidance go to: austinwater.org.
Power outages: If the power is out for more than 24 hours, stop dripping your faucets and turn off your water all together!
Driving During Icy Conditions:
Don’t! Ice in ATX means stay off the roads by any means possible. Wet roads with possible icing on overpasses and bridges could result in increasingly hazardous travel conditions–including the icing of overpasses and bridges.
Non-essential travel is extremely discouraged. If you must travel in icy conditions, please consider the following safety tips:
- Slow down. Speed limits are based on normal road and weather conditions, not winter road conditions.
- Maintain plenty of following distance on snow or ice- at LEAST 3 car lengths!
- Bridges, ramps and overpasses freeze first! Use extra caution.
- If you start to slide, ease off the gas pedal or brakes. Steer into the direction of the skid.
When in doubt, remember the 4 P’s:
People – Before even thinking about going outside, layer up. DO NOT use a generator, grill, camp-stove, or any gasoline, propane, or charcoal-burning device to heat the inside of your home because they generate deadly carbon monoxide gas.
Pets – Please bring them inside!
Pipes – Cover exposed pipes (socks and towels work if you don’t have a fancy one!), turn off outside faucets, drip ONE faucet only if needed.
Plants – cover your pretties or bring them inside.
Stay safe, Austin!