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Prepare your home for winter weather

Water expands when it freezes, and pressure from expanding water can cause pipes to burst. Leaky pipes can break if they go unnoticed, and healthy pipes are vulnerable when temperatures are 32 degrees or lower. Broken pipes can waste thousands of gallons of water, so it is important to protect the pipes in and around your home.

Protect your pipes

  • Insulate exposed pipes and faucets, including those in the basement, garage, attic, crawl space and other unheated areas. Follow the manufacturer's instructions.
  • Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors so warmer air circulates around the plumbing. Remove harmful chemicals and cleaning products to protect children and pets.
  • Let cold water drip from faucets served by exposed pipes when temperatures drop for an extended amount of time.
  • If pipes break on your property, turn off the water at the meter to avoid further damage and water waste. This video contains step-by-step instructions on turning water off at the meter.
  • Before leaving home for an extended winter vacation, turn off the water at the meter or have someone monitor your home in case damages occur while you are away.

Winter landscaping tips
The winter water needs of our landscapes differ greatly from their summer needs. Here's a list of ways to save water all winter long.

  • Don't water plants that don't need it. Many plants lose their leaves for the winter, and warm season grasses turn yellow. Dormant plants won't need watering until spring.
  • El Paso's even/odd watering schedule is always in effect. Residential watering is prohibited on Monday; homes with even-numbered addresses may water on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday; and homes with odd-numbered addresses may water on Wednesday, Friday or Sunday.
  • Evergreen trees and shrubs require regular watering. They can be watered once every two weeks in cold weather months.
  • Change automatic sprinkler settings to avoid wasting water. You might be watering plants that don't need water.
  • Cooler weather is a good time for planting trees and shrubs. To find plants that thrive in El Paso's climate, visit the El Paso Desert Blooms Water Smart Landscaping Guide.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of these winter water tips.