Freezing Temperatures

Harris County MUD18 reminds residents to prepare for freezing temperatures.  Here are some areas to consider before a freeze:

Pipes

Underground water supply pipes are buried below the frost line and will be safe from freezing

Prevent interior frozen pipes and damage to your home by opening the cabinet doors under kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow warm air to circulate and warm the pipes, especially overnight during freezing conditions.

Insulate outdoor faucets and exposed pipes, and be sure to disconnect hoses from outdoor spigots.  Make sure spigots are wrapped with insulation (foam insulation tape and a plastic bag) to prevent them from freezing.  Self-sticking foam-insulating tape or foam insulating tubes can be found at home supply stores.

Irrigation Systems

Shut off the water to an irrigation system.  In our area irrigation shut off valves are commonly found on an anti-siphon fixture that extends above ground somewhere in your yard.  There are usually 2 valves on this unit: one to shut off your water coming into the unit from the water main, and another to shut off water going out to the irrigation system.  After shutting off these valves, drain the anti-siphon unit itself by turning 2 set screws on small brass valves to release water trapped between the 2 shut-off valves.

Make sure the anti–siphon unit is also wrapped with insulation (foam insulation tape and a plastic bag) to help prevent water freezing inside the unit.

Finally, if you have an automatic system then you will need to shut down/turn off the controller or timer. Most irrigation controllers have a “rain-mode” which simply shuts off the signals to the valves. The controller continues to keep time, and the programming information isn’t lost (start times, valve run times, etc.) and the clock continues to run throughout the winter.  The only change is that the valves will not activate.  An alternative to using the rain mode is simply to shut off the power to the controller. If you do this, you’ll need to reprogram the time and potentially other settings come spring.

Plants

Protect plants from freezing by covering them with plant cover fabric, or a light blanket then, plastic sheeting on top of the fabric.  Hydrate plants early so they can absorb water and stay healthy through the cold.