Cold weather precautions urged

With southern Denton County getting its first hard freeze, here are a few things you can do to keep your home or business safe and dry.

• Avoid running irrigation during the nighttime and early morning hours to prevent ice patches on sidewalks and driveways.
• Insulate or cover exposed backflow prevention devices on irrigation systems.
• If you have pipes along an outside wall, allow a small trickle of water to run at night to keep the pipes from freezing. Keep any cabinet doors open to help in this effort.
• Know where your main water shut-off valve is. If a pipe freezes or bursts, shut the water off immediately.
• Keep your garage door closed whenever possible.
• Insulate both hot and cold water pipes in an area that is likely to freeze since hot water pipes have a tendency to freeze first.
• Bring potted plants inside to protect from wind.
• Put down extra mulch or cover sensitive outdoor plants.

If you are traveling:

• Open cabinet doors to expose pipes along outside walls to warmer room temperatures to keep them from freezing.
• Make arrangements with a friend or neighbor to periodically check on your house to make sure the heat is working.
• Never turn off your heat or turn the thermostat below 60 degrees.
• Turn down the temperature on your hot water heater to save energy but do not turn the unit off.
• Consider turning off the water to your house at the meter.

If your pipes freeze:

• Turn the water to the house off.
• Use a hair dryer, space heater or warm clothes to thaw the frozen pipe.
• Never use a torch or other open flame to thaw a pipe.
• Leave a faucet open when thawing a pipe to allow water to come out when the ice melts.
• Once the pipes have thawed, check for cracks and leaks.

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