Tips on preparing for freezing temperatures
Temperatures overnight into Wednesday morning will be near or just below the freezing mark of 32 degrees. That is why now is the time to start planning to protect our property, especially the three P's: plants, pipes and pets.
"A lot times people think, 'Well the animal has fur, so they are obviously going to be OK and they are going to stay warm.' Unfortunately that isn't really the case," said Meera Nandlal, Public Relations Manager for the Houston SPCA.
HSPCA advises pet owners to bring their four-legged companions inside when it gets very cold outside. Each pet has their own cold tolerance level that depends on the animal's coat thickness, body fat content, activity level and health. Check with your veterinarian to know when it is too cold for your pet to stay outside.
Also, make sure they have more food and water than you typically give them. Our pets use up a lot more calories in the freezing weather.
Sub-freezing temperatures could also cause problems for pipes. There are several factors, like pipe material and age that determine what temperature will affect your pipes.
Some Houstonians aren't taking the risk.
"I moved here two years ago from San Diego, which doesn't have that problem. So I am just guarding my chances on that," said Kevin Knox.
Many stores sell foam shields that provide protection for those wanting to stay on the safe side for this cold spell.
"We have a kind that has a seam in it. You can split it open, and it actually wraps around the pipe. Then you come back with some duct tape," demonstrated Russell Rippe, a Home Depot Sales Associate.
If you can't get the foam wrappers, Rippe suggests duct taping old carpet pieces or even just newspaper around exposed pipes and spigots.
"Anything that is exposed to the weather and it has wind blowing through there, it is going to freeze and they are going to bust, and you are going to have a major problem," said Rippe.
We also need to care for our plants from our upcoming freezing nights. If you can bring them in, do so.
For those permanently grounded plants, you could water them or just default to covering them up.
But which is better, blankets or sheets?
"The sheet is going to let it breathe," explained Tyrone McCullough, a Home Depot Sales Associate. "With the blanket, it is not going to breathe at all and that isn't going to be good for it over a period of time."
When it comes to determining which plants need protection, McCullough says you can spot those easily. They are the annual plants and flowers that give your lawn or garden color.