Be Prepared for Winter With These Cold Weather Safety Tips

By:  Darian Rausch, REALTOR®
Urban to Suburban Realty Team

Although mild weather prevails in Austin during most of the winter, temperatures dip below freezing on an average of 25 days each year.  Planning in advance is the best way to handle extremely cold.  When freezing temperatures threaten in and around the Central Texas area, here are a few tips to plan ahead for when winter weather strikes without warning. 

Winter Weather Tips for the Home

A good emergency supply list to keep around the house:

  • Batteries (different sizes for flashlights, radios, etc.)
  • Blankets
  • Matches and/or lighters
  • First aid kit
  • Radio (i.e. NOAA Weather Radio)
  • Battery-powered clock or watch
  • Non-electric can opener
  • Wear several layers of clothes to warm.
  • Other special items you may need, such as medication, baby food, pet food, etc.
  • Firewood (if you have a fireplace)
  • Kerosene (for a kerosene heater)

Stock up at the grocery store ahead of time, so you don’t get caught in a mad dash that happens right before a winter storm.  Have plenty of non-perishable food items on hand such as canned foods, dried fruits, and cereal.   If the power goes out, you’ll be unable to cook a warm meal unless you have a gas stove. 

Check space heaters fo sufficient ventilation and wire condition.

Never place space heaters close to flammable objects, such as drapes or bedding. 

Make sure the fireplace flues are working properly.

Keep fire extinguishers on hand and make sure everyone in your house knows how to use them.  House fires post an additional risk when people turn to alternate heating sources without taking the necessary safety precautions. 

Do not use charcoal or gas grills indoors.  Never use a gas oven for hear – they produce deadly carbon monoxide fumes.

Maintain heating equipment and chimneys by having them cleaned and inspected every year.

Turn off water to outdoor faucets and drain the pipes.  Frozen water lines or pipes inside your home can begin with a frozen outside faucet.

Drip the inside faucets that are located furthest from where the water source enters the house and at locations where water pipes are located in exterior walls.

Winter Weather Tips for the Yard

Bring potted plants inside.  Freezing temperatures can damage roost and even kill plants and flowers. 

Cover outdoor plants with row cover, otherwise known as a frost cloth.  Make sure to cover them all the way down to the ground and around pots.  Weigh down the cover with stones and make sure it stays put. 

Remove water hoses from outside connections.  Cover exterior water faucets with appropriate insulation. 

If you have a swimming pool in your backyard and expect to experience freezing weather, then do not turn your pump off.  Leave your pump turned on.  The water is much likely to freeze if it is consistently moving.  As water freezes, there is expansion.   This expansion can destroy your pump, filter, and pipes.  Alternatively, you can drain your pool. 

During icy or snowy days, use rock salt or more environmentally safe products to melt ice on walkways.  Walk carefully!



This content is not the product of the National Association of REALTORS®, and may not reflect NAR's viewpoint or position on these topics and NAR does not verify the accuracy of the content.