Important Winter Freeze Warning: Protect Your Home, Pets, and Plants!

January 12, 2024 3:30 pm

Dear MUD 401 Residents,

As we brace ourselves for the upcoming winter freeze, we want to ensure that you are well-prepared to safeguard your homes, pets, and plants from the cold weather. Here are some crucial tips to help you navigate through the freezing temperatures:

Protect Your Water Pipes:

  1. Insulate Exposed Pipes: Ensure that any exposed pipes, both indoors and outdoors, are properly insulated. This can prevent them from freezing and potentially bursting during the cold spell.
  2. Drip Faucets: Allow faucets to drip slightly to keep water flowing, as moving water is less likely to freeze. This simple measure can significantly reduce the risk of pipe damage.
  3. Cabinet Doors: Keep cabinet doors under sinks open to allow warm air to circulate around pipes, especially those located along exterior walls.
  4. Pool Pumps: Leave Pool pumps running if they do not have freeze protection.

Sprinkler Systems-Backflow Devices: How to Protect Your Backflow Preventer - see images

Step 1: Turn off the shut-off valve - On most residential backflow devices, there are two shut-off valves. These are typically covered in blue rubber and are located before and after the actual backflow device.

Step 2: Release the water pressure - Now that you have shut off the water valve, you must release the water that is in the device so that it doesn't expand when it freezes and cracks the device. With a flat head screwdriver, loosen the two bleeder valves (#3 and #4 as illustrated). The bleeder valves are usually located just under the plastic top of the backflow. Sometimes, they have rubber inserts you must remove before you can see the flathead screw. When opening these, be aware that the water will spew out for a few seconds and your hands will get wet. NOTE: If the water doesn't stop spitting out after a couple minutes, you haven't fully turned off the water in step 1.

Step 3: Leave the smaller bleeder valves open - This will allow the water to expand and freeze without being hindered and causing damage.

Step 4: Insulate your Backflow - At almost all home improvements stores, they carry backflow preventer insulation materials.

Freeze Preparations Video

Ensure Your Pets Stay Warm:

  1. Bring Them Indoors: If possible, bring your pets indoors during extremely cold weather. If they must stay outside, provide them with a warm, dry shelter and ensure they have access to fresh water that won't freeze.
  2. Layer Up: If your pets have short fur, consider dressing them in warm sweaters or jackets to help retain body heat during walks or outdoor activities.
  3. Check Paws: Cold pavement and ice can be tough on your pets' paws. Consider using pet-friendly ice melt and wiping their paws after being outside.

Shield Your Plants from Frost:

  1. Cover Sensitive Plants: Use blankets, burlap, or frost cloth to cover sensitive plants overnight. This helps trap heat and protect them from freezing temperatures.
  2. Mulch Around Plants: Apply a layer of mulch around the base of plants to insulate the soil and regulate temperature. This can be especially helpful for root protection.
  3. Water Before Freezing: Water your plants well before the freeze. Moist soil retains more heat, providing an extra layer of protection for your greenery.

Stay Informed:

Keep an eye on local weather updates and be prepared for any additional advisories.

Let's work together to make sure everyone in our community stays safe and warm during this winter freeze. Thank you for your cooperation and stay cozy!

Warm regards,

Harris County MUD 401 Board

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