Protecting your home and yard against severe winter weather

By Amy Davis - Reporter/Consumer Expert

HOUSTON - Schools are making winter weather plans, but is your family prepared? Local 2 Consumer Expert Amy Davis explains what you need to know to get your home and yard winter-ready.

The Home Depot in Bellaire has faucet covers, insulation for your pipes and duct tape right at the front door, but managers at the store say they're having a hard time getting ice melt in stock for customers. You might need that on Friday morning if your driveway or sidewalk is covered in ice in the morning.

"Being in Houston, we don't have this kind of weather very often, so it's not something I don't think everyone stocks on a regular basis," said Home Depot's Mark Scifers.

He says you can use regular table salt to melt ice on your driveway or sidewalks in the morning, but that can cause some damage.

"It's corrosive," said Scifers. "It will kill grass and plants and stain and damage concrete."

One manager told Local 2 water softener salt will melt the ice. Home Depot does have that in stock, but it comes in rather large pellets or granules that you could slip on, so use it with caution. Better yet why not stay inside in the morning off of icy roadways and off of icy driveways?

We stopped by the Sprinkler Warehouse to show you how to protect an often overlooked part of your yard during a freeze.  There are just three steps to making sure your sprinkler system doesn't freeze up: Don't bother with your sprinkler heads. Go straight to the Pressure Vacuum Breaker. You will usually find it on the side of your house. First, turn off the shut-off valve. Use a flat-head screwdriver to open the two test ports on the side of the breaker.

"What it does, it allows the water when it freezes or pressures up to bleed out the system down the line," explained the Sprinkler Warehouse's Luis Cantu.

Then insulate the pipes and cover the whole thing with a blanket. To watch an instructional video of the process, click here.

If your sprinkler system does freeze up, the Sprinkler Warehouse says the fix is easy and shouldn't cost you more than $20 to $30 to repair yourself. If you call a plumber or sprinkler company, you'll easily pay between $250 and $600.

There are also Do-It-Yourself videos for how to make the repairs here.

"It's not a hard repair. It's just knowing the processes," said Donnie Yarbrough of the Warehouse.

Copyright 2014 by All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.