Winter Weather Safety
Remember the Four Ps
1. PEOPLE - Stay inside as much as possible. In addition to keeping your family warm, limiting time outdoors can help reduce the risk of car crashes and falls on slippery sidewalks and roads. Check on any elderly family or neighbors that may need extra blankets, winterizing their homes or a warm place to stay. If you must go outside, dress in layers and stay dry. Know the signs of frostbite and hypothermia.
2. PETS - Dogs and cats get cold too. Bring them inside when temperatures at 32° or less unless they have a well-insulated structure that: is large enough to curl up in and has a wind block at the door; includes a heated water bowl so that have access to unfrozen water; has a floor elevated from the ground with warm dry blankets or dry straw, and has heating or an outdoor heating pad. Signs that an animal may be getting too cold include: trembling, sleepiness, slowed breathing, mobility issues, dry skin, numbness, illness.
3. PIPES - Cover exposed pipes and faucets. Run water, even at a trickle, to help prevent your pipes from freezing. Open the kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Be sure to move any harmful cleaners and household chemicals out of the reach of children. Keep the garage doors closed if there are water lines in the garage. Learn more about protecting your pipes and find out what to do if you suspect you have frozen pipes.
If, despite your best efforts, your have burst or broken pipes and need water shut off, you can call Utility Services at (972) 780-6643.
4. PLANTS - Either cover plants to keep them warm at night or bring them inside so they can flourish.
Driving in Winter Weather
Driving during a winter weather event can be treacherous. It's easy to lose control of your vehicle on icy pavement, and there is an increased risk of falling branches and power lines. Our crews are working to treat major intersections and non-TxDOT bridges, and will continue sanding operations through this event.
To report a weather-related outage power outage, contact Oncor by calling 888-313-4747, texting O-U-T to 66267, downloading the MyOncor app, or visiting stormcenter.oncor.com.
If you live in the Hilco Electric Coop service area, you can report an outage online here: https://hilco.coop/report-an-outage.
Frozen Pipes and Water Shutoffs
In bitterly cold temperatures, frozen water in pipes expands, putting pressure on pipes and possibly causing leaks or breaks.
Follow these steps to identify and respond to frozen pipes:
1. Identify frozen pipes. If your faucets aren't running or your toilet is not refilling, there's a good chance you have frozen pipes.
2. If you suspect frozen pipes, turn off your water to prevent pipes from bursting. If you can find your house shut-off valve (show in the diagram below), you can shut it off yourself. DO NOT ATTEMPT to access the meter box. If you need assistance in shutting off your water, contact (972) 780-6643. If, despite your best efforts, your have burst or broken pipes and water is entering your home, call 9-1-1 for an emergency water shut off.
- If you turn on a faucet and only a trickle comes out, suspect a frozen pipe. Likely places for frozen pipes include against exterior walls or where your water service enters your home through the foundation.
- Keep the faucet open. As you treat the frozen pipe and the frozen area begins to melt, water will begin to flow through the frozen area. Running water through the pipe will help melt ice in the pipe.
- Apply heat to the section of pipe using an electric heating pad wrapped around the pipe, an electric hair dryer, a portable space heater (kept away from flammable materials), or by wrapping pipes with towels soaked in hot water. Do not use a blowtorch, kerosene or propane heater, charcoal stove, or other open flame device.
- Apply heat until full water pressure is restored. If you are unable to locate the frozen area, if the frozen area is not accessible, or if you can not thaw the pipe, call a licensed plumber.
- Check all other faucets in your home to find out if you have additional frozen pipes. If one pipe freezes, others may freeze, too.
6. If you have damage, click here for tips from the Texas Department of Insurance on selecting a contractor, filing claims, and reporting price gouging.