Take Aways from the S Storm in February!

Real Estate Agent with Juice RE Group at Compass Lic# 491811

Remember that S Storm a few months ago?  You know, the monster Snow Storm that caused havoc across the Great State of Texas and Austin?  Well now the dust has settled...or the snow has melted... and we are heading into the warmer temps of Spring, here are some things you might want to consider as plumbers and contractors begin to come up for air.

With a little bit of planning, you can protect yourself and your family while keeping your property losses to a minimum if you prepare ahead of time. Preparedness is much more than what we each do as individuals. Just keeping some extra food and water in the house isn’t going to be enough for many disasters.

How to protect your pipes from freezing?

1. Leave the heat on 24 hours a day at a temperature setting of no less than 55 degrees. 

2. Keep all windows closed. 

3. Be sure to leave open the cabinet doors under the kitchen sink and bathroom sink to allow heat to reach the plumbing. 

4. Drip all your water 24 hours a day at a steady drip about 5 drops per second when you are in the home and when you are gone. 

5. Leave all drains open, including lavatories, sinks, and bathtubs.
6. As everyone else in the city drips their faucets, the water pressure may drop, the dripping or stream may subside, and you may have to open the faucets some more. 

7. Wrap your exterior spigots. 

8. Protect your tankless water heater by also wrapping it and the pipes.

9. Don't run the washing machine or dishwasher.

10. Keep garage doors closed if the water supply is in garage

What to do if your pipes freeze?

1. Exterior pipes are most likely to freeze. If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Your pipes will begin to thaw when temperatures rise above freezing or if your power is restored and your home begins heating again, your now cracked pipes will begin to flood your home.

2. Keep the faucet open. Running water will help melt the ice pipe.

3. Use a blow dryer or a heating blanket to gently apply heat to the pipe. An important note: no open flames. 

4. Call your insurance company as well as a plumber to get in queue for repair.

5. Post on NextDoor to see if any of your neighbors are experienced plumbers if travel restrictions are a still a major problem.

What to do if a pipe bursts?

1. Locate your water shut-off valve, which is usually under a lid near the street and have your proper tools ready for closing the main shut-off valve. (Water valve shut-off tool or meter key usually 180 degrees clockwise).

2. Shut off your water at the main valve.

3. Prevent mold and mildew by using towels or wet/dry vacuum to soak up the water as quickly as possible.

4. Keep in mind that many shut off valves are difficult to locate and are generally 5' from your street in between your home and one of your neighbors. Many of the valves are frozen or rusted and are difficult to shut off.

5. If you are unable to locate your shut-off valve, contact your water providers emergency hotline.

What to do if electricity goes out?

1. Roll up spare towels or blankets, and place at the bottom of doors and windows.

2. Close window curtains and blinds. Consider hanging extra blankets over curtains for an extra layer.

3. Put on extra sweaters and jackets - layers will keep you warm.

4. Make soups and stews. They will help warm you from the inside and the residual heat from cooking helps inside the house.

5. If you have a working fireplace, you could light a fire but please make sure it is safe, has been cleaned and inspected regularly. This is very important!

6. If it’s getting cold, try to keep all family members in the same room, in the center of the house.

7. You could also pitch a tent inside your house, and sleep in there to share body heat.

What to do if you lose water?

1. Collect and melt snow for water.

2. Check for free distribution water centers.

3. Under the boil water notice, you can use washing machines and dishwashers without boiling water. 

4. Boiling water applies to hand-washing and showering. 

5. Be particularly careful if you are handling care for elders and children who are immune compromised. 

How to be prepared ahead of time?

1. Stock up on essentials as soon as you hear a major storm is coming. 

2. Locate your water main shut off valve. 

3. Fill a bathtub with water than you can use to flush your toilets if the water is cut off. 

4. Bring plants and outdoor patio furniture if you are able to to prevent damage.

5. Fill your car gas tank. If you can bring your car into the garage to prevent the doors from being iced shut.

6. Charge all of your electronic devices.

7. Keep some cash around. 

What supplies to buy before a storm?

1. Drinking water- 1 gallon per person, per day, for three days

2. Food- non-perishable or frozen, enough for 3 days

3. Flashlights

4. Batteries

5. A Lighter (for the stove), or matches. Candles

7. A Lantern– we have one that has a hand crank and can serve as a device charger with a USB port- Highly recommend! 

8. A wrench- to turn off water main if necessary

9. Paper goods- plates, bowls- were very helpful when we didn’t have water to wash dishes!

10. First aid, medications, supplements- anything you might need if you can’t go out to a store for a few days.


Comments (17)

Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hello John - "S" of all kinds can and does happen.  Fortunately so do lessons.  And that's a good thing in my opinion.  

Apr 13, 2021 07:44 AM
Sharon Lee
Sharon Lee's Virtual Assistance - Jonesborough, TN
Retired and loving life

These are all great tips. Have a great day.  

Apr 13, 2021 07:45 AM
John Dunham

Glad you enjoyed them!

Apr 20, 2021 01:43 PM
Ron and Alexandra Seigel
Napa Consultants - Carpinteria, CA
Luxury Real Estate Branding, Marketing & Strategy


The first weekend of our arrival in Napa it snowed.  It was nowhere near what happened in Texas, and luckily all systems worked and were not affected.  A

Apr 13, 2021 01:24 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Hi John- Having grown up in Houston, I remember hard freezes and burst pipes!!! This is excellent information for all of us. We were lucky and did not have any burst pipes but you know there will be another time. One thing to consider is getting plumbing supplies. I know that many here had problems because no one could get supplies. 

Apr 13, 2021 06:13 PM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Apr 17, 2021 06:06 PM
Grant Schneider
Performance Development Strategies - Armonk, NY
Your Coach Helping You Create Successful Outcomes

Good morning John - I guess Texans are getting to know what we do in New York.  All excellent information.

Apr 18, 2021 05:16 AM
Wayne Martin
Wayne M Martin - Chicago, IL
Real Estate Broker - Retired

Good morning John. Sage advice for people to be prepared when "S" happens. Enjoy your day.

Apr 18, 2021 05:20 AM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning,

Glad to see your post featured in Kathy's "Ah-ha" moments for the week. Definitely great advice as you never know how severe weather can be.

Apr 18, 2021 06:16 AM
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker/REALTOR® - Kalispell, MT
Helping your Montana dreams take root

This is excellent information for anyone in an area where freezing temperatures could occur. Keeping those pipes from freezing can save homeowners a lot of time, grief, and money.

Apr 18, 2021 06:16 AM
Tom Bailey
Margaret Rudd & Associates Inc. - Oak Island, NC

Great list of tips John! Thankfully here along the coast we rarely have frozen pipes. That said, I have had them in the past and it is miserable 

Apr 18, 2021 06:20 AM
Hannah Williams
HomeStarr Realty - Philadelphia, PA
Expertise NE Philadelphia & Bucks 215-820-3376


Preventive maintenance is worth doing, isn't it? Great Tips!   so glad Kath Featured 

Apr 18, 2021 06:33 AM
Chris Ann Cleland
Long and Foster Real Estate - Gainesville, VA
Associate Broker, Bristow, VA

Lots of good stuff for home owners to remember.  Unfortunately, some learned the hard way some of these lessons.

Apr 18, 2021 04:20 PM
Sheri Sperry - MCNE®
Coldwell Banker Realty - Sedona, AZ
(928) 274-7355 ~ YOUR Solutions REALTOR®

Hi John, 

You shared a lot of great points.  I came from SoCal to Sedona AZ and really did not know much about freezing temps. Fortunately, I can count a handful of days in 11 years that did not get about 32º.  But I have had an outside spigot freeze and now use one of those bell-shaped protectors during the winter. I also like your point of leaving the cabinets open under the sinks.  I never thought to do that.  

Apr 18, 2021 04:35 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

I am here in north Texas and it was quite an experience. Great tips for all of us.

Apr 18, 2021 07:59 PM
Lyn Sims
Schaumburg, IL
Real Estate Agent Retired

All great advice & I was really surprised that many people in your area did not know these basics which cost gazillions in damage. Where I am in Chicago, this is just how it is year after year.

Apr 20, 2021 07:07 AM
Jim Paulson
Progressive Realty (Boise Idaho) www.Progressive-Realty.info - Boise, ID

One problem we have here in Idaho is that people have their garden hoses attached to the outdoor faucet and they freeze and expand breaking the pipes under the home.

Apr 20, 2021 10:40 AM
Kris Collis, Associate Broker
Smart Way America Realty - East Stroudsburg, PA
Professional Results you Expect 570-801-5525

An outstanding checklist to make it almost impossible for pipes to freeze.  Your area residents needs to read this, they are sure to learn more than they thought they knew.

Apr 23, 2021 10:17 PM