Almost four months into this year and 2021 is proving to be very eventful. From COVID vaccines, dropped mask mandates and the Texas snowstorm we will never forget, 2021 has already taught us a thing or two about life.
When the snowstorm hit in February, we were drastically unprepared. From burst water pipes and flooded homes, to lost electricity and ruined food supplies, this winter weather was anything but fun. Texans don’t experience winter weather events often but looking back to February, we should learn from our past unpreparedness. So, in honor of this weekend (April 24-26) being Emergency Preparation Supplies Sales Tax Holiday, we want to remind you of a couple of emergency scenarios and items/practices that could help you in those scenarios.
First, to avoid the greatest amount of damage from freezing water lines that can burst and cause flooding, keep all of your indoor faucets dripping, both from the hot and cold sides. You may want to conserve water for later or have an emergency supply as you may need to boil tap water for drinking and cooking if the city loses power and the ability to properly filter your water. If you open up your cabinets, it allows the heat from the room to warm up the pipes. Another helpful trick to stop water from free-flowing in the event of a broken pipe or flooding is to learn where your main shut-off valves are for your home and how to turn these off yourself. Make it easy on yourself and purchase a tall water meter key like this one from The Home Depot. Many of the water lines broken during the recent winter storm were due to poorly or uninsulated pipes in attics and unconditioned spaces. So, before freezing weather hits, inspect all of the water lines in your attic and ensure they are well insulated, especially where they are joined together and at elbow fittings.
Second, loss of power. When you lose power, everything goes awry – the heat, food, your way of cooking food, wifi, telephone lines, lighting, etc. There are a couple of solutions to this issue. The first and the most expensive would be to buy a generator, either permanent or portable. Don’t ever run a gas generator inside your home, and some get stubborn if they haven’t been started in a long time, so make sure your generator is started often and stays in working order! The second would be to purchase can openers, batteries, portable phone chargers, light sources, carbon monoxide and smoke detectors, coolers and ice packs, radios, heating packs, etc. If you have a pool and the power goes out during freezing temperatures, knowing how to drain the water out of your pool equipment can save your pool from terrible damage. Place a few pieces of wood, logs or even pool noodles on the surface to prevent ice from expanding and damaging your pool tile. It may freeze over, but once the water thaws out it can usually be safely restarted with minimal to no damage.
Third would be prevention from damage from tornadoes or hurricanes. We don’t build basements very often here in Texas, although they are definitely something to consider if you are building a custom home! A lot of our clients are opting to install steel storm protection shelters in their garages to keep their families and pets safe. In preparation for severe spring weather with high winds, make sure you have secured all of your outdoor furniture and grills, by tying them down to foundations to keep them from being swept away. You can also buy hurricane shutters to protect flying debris from breaking windows around the home. If you live in North Texas long enough, it’s only a matter of time before a hail storm will likely strike where you live. A car cover, like this one found on Amazon, will aid in protecting your car from hail damage and save you from paying for repairs.
If you have any questions about what else to buy to help save your home in these emergency scenarios, please reach out without hesitation!
Cover photography sourced from Glenn Hagar || Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts || Comptroller. Texas.Gov