For many Texans, the below-freezing temperatures of earlier this week bring back unpleasant reminders of last February’s severe winter storm and power outages. But as things begin to warm up, …
For many Texans, the below-freezing temperatures of earlier this week bring back unpleasant reminders of last February’s severe winter storm and power outages. But as things begin to warm up, local officials and power companies are urging people to prepare for the next round of freezing temperatures.
Those freezing temperatures are not in the immediate forecast. Thursday’s forecast calls for sunny skies and a high in the mid-60s, according to the National Weather Service.
Both the City of Katy and CenterPoint Energy have shared tips for winterizing a home.
According to the city, for freezing conditions and loss of power, residents should locate and turn off their personal water shut off valve. The valve is usually located outside the home or somewhere between the house and water meter. If a home does not have a valve, contact a plumber for installation. If a home has a valve, make sure it is operational.
When extended freezing temperatures are forecasted, turn off the shut off valve and open faucets to drain water from the lines that are in the wall and ceiling. Turn faucets back off so when the lines defrost, the running water will not flood the house if you are not home.
If the water must be turned off, first fill a bathtub to use for flushing toilets and fill pitchers, jugs, and so on for drinking water.
If the power is still on, open cabinet doors to help heat the pipes in the walls. Do not leave faucets dripping as this can cause a loss of water pressure throughout the city. Turn off the water and drain the pipes before they freeze.
To protect an irrigation system, turn off the shut off valve on the vacuum breaker and then drain the water.
Remove water hoses, wrap faucets with insulated covers or towels and then secure with plastic.
For those using electricity, CenterPoint Energy said high winds and ice could cause downed power lines in isolated areas. Always assume downed lines or wires are energized and potentially dangerous if contacted. The company makes these suggestions:
For those using natural gas, make sure your heating system is working properly. Malfunctioning home heating equipment can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Check that outside furnace vents aren’t blocked by snow or ice. Keep the furnace filter clean for safe, efficient operation.
Use space heaters safely. Use a space heater with an automatic shut-off feature, and keep children, pets and all items at least three feet away. A space heater that uses gas, propane or wood should be vented to the outside. Stoves and ovens should never be used for space heating.
Check the carbon monoxide (CO) and smoke alarms. These devices are essential to warn you of a fire or dangerous condition involving a furnace, water heater, fireplace or stove. Test alarms monthly and change batteries as recommended by the manufacturer.
Immediately report a suspected natural gas leak. If someone smells the “rotten egg” odor of natural gas, immediately leave on foot, go to a safe location and call both 911 and CenterPoint Energy at 713-659-2111 or 800-752-8036. Don’t use electric switches/outlets, phones (including cell phones), drive or start a car inside or in close proximity to the location, or do anything that could cause a spark.
The city posts notifications on its website and Facebook advising customers of service outages and warnings. One can also register to receive automated emergency alerts from the City’s KT Alert Emergency Management System at https://bit.ly/3z4knSE.
CenterPoint urges customers to register for its Power Alert Service for information on individual outages. It also urges customers to follow @cnpalerts and visit Outage Tracker for general outage locations. The company has a website, CenterPointEnergy.com/StormCenter that provides tips and other resources.
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