• March 6, 2021

BBB: Handling severe winter weather - Odessa American: BBB Column

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BBB: Handling severe winter weather

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Posted: Sunday, February 21, 2021 5:15 am

Several regions across Texas are facing freezing temperatures and severe winter weather as a phenomenon sometimes referred to as a “blue norther” sweeps through the state. Some cities even anticipated the lowest temperatures seen in decades. Homeowners prepared to avoid the cold and stay indoors, but steps still need to be taken to prevent damage from the extreme weather conditions.

The cold snap posed a variety of problems: freeze injury to lawns and gardens, wear and tear from overuse on HVAC systems, hail damage to cars or windows and, most commonly, burst pipes. Luckily, there are plenty of precautionary steps you can take when dealing with wintry weather.

When frozen, pipes can burst and cause flooding within your home. Easy ways to prevent pipes from freezing is to keep water moving through them by dripping your faucets and keeping your house heated to at least 65 degrees. You should also locate the main water shutoff in your home. In the event of a burst pipe, you will need to shut the water off to minimize water damage. If you are expecting hail, prevent damage by moving your car into a garage, or using a car cover if you don’t have covered parking available, and shuttering your windows. Texans unfamiliar with cold weather can also expect their furnaces to run constantly, so remember to give your HVAC a break occasionally to prevent overuse.

If you are dealing with property damage due to the severe weather, you’ll want to contact your insurance company to discuss what is covered by your policy. You may also decide to hire landscapers, contractors or auto repair professionals to help repair any damage you accumulate during the cold snap. When searching for trustworthy professionals, use these tips from your Better Business Bureau:

Find reputable professionals. Visit BBB.org to find trustworthy professionals in your area and read customer reviews on their business profile. You can also reach out to friends and family for recommendations or contact your insurance provider for a list of preferred vendors.

Check licensing. Contractors and landscapers may need licenses to provide specific services, such as plumbing work or pesticide application. Go to the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation at tdlr.texas.gov to verify the professionals you hire have the proper licensing.

Watch for storm chasers. In areas with extreme damage, contactors referred to as storm chasers may go door to door offering their services. They often pressure you into hiring them and rarely complete projects after taking payment. Avoid working with someone who comes to your door and resist high-pressure sales tactics.

For more tips on handling severe weather, visit us at BBB.org.

Odessa, TX

Current Conditions

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59°
Humidity: 35%
Winds: SE at 9mph
Feels Like: 57°

Your Extended Forecast

Today

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High 63°/Low 38°
Clear. Lows overnight in the upper 30s.

Tomorrow

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High 63°/Low 43°
Sunny. Highs in the low 60s and lows in the low 40s.

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High 69°/Low 52°
Windy with a mix of sun and clouds. Highs in the upper 60s and lows in the low 50s.

tuesday

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High 78°/Low 55°
Mostly cloudy. Highs in the upper 70s and lows in the mid 50s.
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