As North Texas prepares for freezing temperatures, experts recommend taking a few extra steps of preparation to prevent costly damage to your home.
Busted pipes are one of the most common and damaging issues seen this time of year. Ben Friedman at Atlas Plumbing says pipes on a home's exterior walls, especially those facing north, are most at risk.
He recommends leaving any faucets from those pipes turned on to a steady drip.
"As long as the water's flowing through the pipes, there's less chance of it actually forming into ice," Friedman said.
Although, he adds, it's a misconception that hot water will take longer to freeze. He recommends running water from both the hot and cold taps.
Friedman also recommends leaving cabinet doors open below kitchen and bathroom sinks to allow your home's central heating to help keep pipes warm. He also suggests adding space heaters when temperatures drop really low.
"You'll know if your pipes are frozen if you don't have any water coming out of the fixture when you turn it on," Friedman said.
When that happens, he says you should immediately turn the water back off.
"If you turn the water on and break up the ice inside of the pipe, you could expand the copper or plastic PEX pipe, which will then create a crack or rupture, and all of that pressure will run out of that opening," Friedman said.
To prevent that from happening, he says you should shut off water to your home immediately and call a plumber or 911 if you need help doing so.
Failure to cover outdoor plants can also result in expensive damage. Ruibal's of Texas says customers have been in regularly asking how to prevent plants from freezing. They recommend starting a few hours early.
"You want to water good before the freezes come. That way when it freezes, it'll freeze to the roots. Then when it thaws, it actually start watering the plants again. So it'll be ready as soon as the weather turns for you," said Mark Ruibal, vice president of sales and marketing.
He suggests using a light, breathable cotton fabric to cover flower beds.
"Anything that's brand new. Anything you've put in recently. For instance, any of the shrubs and things that you might have just planted in the last month. And then any of your color," Ruibal said.