What you need to know about protecting plants and pipes during cold temperatures

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Northeast Florida and Southeast Georgia are expecting another wintry blast this weekend, as temperatures will drop below freezing for most of our area.

Before the cold weather hits, there are some simple steps you can take to protect your homes and your plants. One simple step you can take is to leave cabinet doors under the kitchen and bathroom, sinks open to allow some of the heat inside the house to get to those pipes.

Consider allowing a drip from the faucet so there’s water continuously moving through those pipes to keep them from freezing. Providing insulation to pipes in and around your house can keep them from freezing, especially those on a water heater or a spigot.

Use towels, blankets or special covers sold at hardware stores to keep them warm.

“They’re out in the elements so they are getting the brunt force of the cold and wet,” said Tim Wood, the Vice President of Snyder Heating, Air, Electric and Plumbing. “As that moisture gets on there, it freezes the water in the line and that could be very problematic.”

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Disconnecting the hose from an outside spigot is a good idea, as well as knowing where the main shut-off valve to your water line is and how to turn it off.

“They can freeze, expand and bust,” Wood said. “Once the water thaws, you still have water pressure going and can flood your whole home, costing thousands of dollars in damage.”

“A little bit of water, even from a small burst, it will cause the house to fill up quickly,” said Carlos Rubina, a plumbing technician. “There’s a lot of water coming out and a lot of pressure.”

If you plan to be out of town this weekend, consider keeping your thermostat set at least around 68 degrees.

There are ways to keep your pipes and plants protected in places, especially outside.

Plants need to be protected from harsh elements as well.

Joel Philips owns Philips’ Garden Store and recommends making sure your plants are well watered.

“Freezing sucks all of the moisture out of their root zone and their upper extremities too,” he said.

Philips said it is good to bring any tropical plants indoors, if possible. If that cannot happen, try to find cover for them and other winter plants, either placing them on a porch, under a canopy or using frost cloth to cover them.

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“If there is the ability to offer heat, whether that be through a light bulb, a drop light to plants that you know are sensitive that you cannot move, then you can always provide some cover,” Philips said. “You can put a product over them and then add a little bit of light just from a lightbulb. It will keep it above freezing in most situations.”

Those are easy ways to protect plants and pipes that can make a difference.

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