Hearing about winter-caused property damage in Phoenix is surprising for much of the country. Weather is relative. Property and plant damage can happen when temperatures, rainfall amounts, wind, and other conditions stray from seasonal norms.
PREVENTING DAMAGE TO WATER PIPES
Water pipes in the Valley of the Sun are not buried deep to protect from freezing conditions. Water meters, faucets, and sprinkler systems don’t have insulated covers to shield them from extreme cold. During rare freezing weather, a lot of water damage can take place. When a freeze alert is issued, take action to protect your plumbing.
Insulate outdoor pipes. Secure all outdoor faucets, hoses, valves, and sprinkler controls. If your attic contains water pipes consider protecting them too. There are several products available from a hardware store to insulate pipes. These include foam pipe wraps, faucet “warmer covers,” and electrical heat tape that can be attached to exposed water pipes.
Turning an outdoor faucet on to drip during the freeze will also help prevent pipe bursts. Keep the pumps and or waterfalls operating on outdoor water features.
During a freeze in Phoenix, set the indoor thermostat in the home to 60 degrees Fahrenheit or above. When a home is unoccupied in the winter, somebody should set the thermostat to a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
PREVENTING DAMAGE TO PLANTS
Freezes seldom last for more than a few hours in the Phoenix area. However, even a few hours of freeze can severely damage plants.
Nurseries provide the following recommendations for temperatures that will plummet to 29 Degrees Fahrenheit for five hours:
- Cover plants with sheets, towels, blankets, cardboard, or a tarp.
- Avoid plastic sheeting.
- Use stakes to prevent the covers from crushing the plants. You can also invert baskets, coolers, or containers with a solid bottom over plants.
- Cover plants before dark to trap warmer air.
When a hard freeze, 28 degrees or lower, for five hours or longer takes place, additional precautions should be considered. Adding an extra layer of mulch to the ground provides protection. Deep watering the plant roots will help. Nurseries sell chemical sprays that will protect plants from frost damage. Commercial-grade plant blankets are also available and can cover large areas.
Our climate is changing. We are experiencing more extreme temperatures in Phoenix and throughout Arizona. At 123HELP, we suggest homeowners have an inventory of old sheets and other supplies on hand and be prepared (in advance) for a freeze. If your home suffers from water damage from a burst pipe, remember 123HELP approved repair contractors are here to help.