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How to prepare your home for freezing temperatures, power outages

Even when the weather isn't expected to be severe, it's still important to know what to do if the forecast changes.

AUSTIN, Texas — Austin weather can be unpredictable and it's important to be prepared for the unexpected.

While we sometimes see warmer days during the winter, cold weather is often just around the corner, including later this week.

It's important to note that we aren't expecting anything near the type of weather we saw in February 2021. But we are expecting some of the coldest temperatures of the season so far and possibly some light wintry mix.

Whatever wintry precipitation occurs will most likely fall in the form of freezing rain and sleet because temperatures above the surface will be above freezing. However, at least one widespread hard freeze is expected later this week.

RELATED: Live radar: A timeline of Monday's heavy rain in Central Texas

It never hurts to brush up on what you should do in the event of severe weather.

Here’s a list of steps to take in case of freezing temperatures and power outages.

Find your water shutoff

According to Austin Water’s website, everyone should know where the water main shutoff valve is in their residence. It should also always be easily accessible.

The property inspection report will say if there is a valve inside the home. There is also a City shutoff valve in every home’s meter box. To access that, you may need a meter key. They are available at hardware stores.

Keep cold air out of the house

Austin Water says to close all doors and windows, including the garage door, and if some are broken, repair them now. The agency also recommends sealing leaks in crawl spaces and basements to prepare. 

Outdoor faucets 

In preparation for freezing temperatures, Austin Water says to turn off outside faucets and automatic sprinkler systems. It also says to remove the connected hoses and wrap the faucets with towels.

Protecting indoor faucets

During freezing weather, residents should open the cabinets beneath their sinks to let warm air surround the pipes.

If you think your pipes might freeze

Austin Water recommends that you only drip cold water from one faucet if it looks like the pipes might freeze. It should be the faucet furthest away from the main shutoff valve.

Austin Water also says to collect the dripping water for use.

In case of a power outage that lasts longer than 24 hours, stop dripping water.

Supplies to always have

  • Water meter key
  • Insulation for indoor and outdoor pipes
  • Hose bib cover for outdoor faucets
  • Battery-powered flashlight
  • Battery-powered radio
  • One gallon of water per person for each day

Leaving before the potential for severe weather? 

If you’re leaving Austin before potentially freezing temperatures, Austin Water says to turn off the water meter and set the thermostat to at least 65 degrees.


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