Dec 15, 2021 - News

How to prepare your home for winter weather

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

It's time to brace for freezing temperatures.

Yes, winters in Austin are heating up — the first two months of the 2019-2020 winter were the second warmest in 122 years — but February's Winter Storm Uri taught us that we have to prepare for more severe and prolonged freezing weather.

Austin Water is encouraging its customers to take these steps to prepare for future winter storms:

  • Locate your water shutoff valve: Keep it clear of debris and obstacles. Renters should consult with their property managers.
    • Note: If you can't access your shutoff valve, be prepared to access the city shutoff valve in the meter box. Water meter keys can be purchased at most hardware stores.
  • Weatherize to keep cold air out: Make repairs to drafty windows, doors and walls, including sealing leaks in crawl spaces and basements.
  • Weatherize exposed pipes and water heaters: Prepare to insulate exposed pipes, especially those in attics and garages. Turn off irrigation systems during the winter months to conserve water, and be prepared to wrap outside faucets with towels or a styrofoam insulator.
  • Have these supplies on hand: Water meter key to access your meter box, insulation for pipes and hot water heaters, hose bib covers, battery powered radio and flashlight and 1 gallon of water per person and pet per day for seven days.

Access emergency alerts: Download the Ready Central Texas mobile app for more tips on emergency preparedness. Plus, save Austin Water's 24-hour emergency hotline: 512-972-1000, option 1.

Bonus: Read more from The Texas Tribune about why we experienced the February freeze, despite warming temperatures.

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