CENTRAL TEXAS - As temperatures drop this weekend, experts said the time to prepare your home is now.
"The best thing people can do is not wait until it is absolutely freezing and icy outside because that's when problems occur,” said Mark Gatewood with ABC Home & Commercial Services.
Gatewood said people should wrap their outside pipes, faucets and back flow preventers.
Inside, he advises to keep your cabinet doors open, drip your faucets and turn on your heater now for a test run.
"Testing it out ahead of time is going to eliminate those problems -- the surprises that pop up,” said Gatewood.
He also said it’s important to check your registers to make sure they’re open to allow heat in each room, and to make sure all your filters are changed.
And when it comes to your plants, Sean Bush with ABC said to keep it simple: Water, mulch and cover. He said a plant freezes when it loses water. So, he said if you plump it full of water, that can slow down that process. If you add mulch, it can protect a plant’s roots, and you can cover the plant to protect the leaves.
"About 10 to 15 percent of the value of your home is tied back to the condition of your lawn and landscape so this is a great time to protect that investment,” said Bush. "You could talk thousands of dollars of damage if you don't take a few minutes to invest, to protect those plants."
If you have indoor plants, Bush suggests rotating them, so one side is not constantly exposed to a cold window.
And when you go inside to get out of the cold, bugs and rodents are sure to try to follow. Brian Kelly with ABC said that can include rats, spiders and especially fire ants.
To prevent that, Kelly said you should clear things from around your home, such as tall grass, firewood or clutter.
"Things that are around the perimeter right now, kind of sheltered in stuff, they're going to be driven inside,” said Kelly. "If their property's not groomed around the perimeter of the foundation, that's where things will be loaded and those things will move inside as soon as it gets really, really cold."
He also said you should seal any openings, and encourages you to pre-treat for pests now.
"The materials and chemicals that are used, most of them last a lot longer in the cold than the heat,” said Kelly.
A heat that Central Texas may not see again for a while.
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