Cold WX: Protecting your home and plants from freezing temperatures

MEMPHIS, TN (WMC) - It’s fall, but in the next few days the Mid-South is bracing for winter weather.

Choates Heating and Air has responded to hundreds of calls as people turn on the heat for the first time.

Choates Plumbing Electrical and HVAC Bill Kellum said you should always have your heat checked.

“Especially because things can transpire through the course of a year. Roof might have been put on and the roofers may have knocked your vent pipe off and there’s leaking carbon monoxide in your attic. We’ve seen that happen,” said Kellum.

Kellum said while a licensed contractor is at your home, have them look at your air filter too. Those should be changed every 3 months or less.

Filters and furnaces are not your only concern in freezing temperatures.

Dustin Smith with Smith’s Plumbing said this short cold snap hopefully won’t burst your pipes, since it has to be a prolonged freeze to do that.

“It may take a couple of days before you notice your pipes are frozen,” said Smith.

He said it’s time to start opening up cabinets covering external pipes and possibly putting a fire safe heater nearby to be careful.

“This will allow the home’s heat to penetrate the cabinet which will help prevent your pipes from freezing,” said Smith.

He also recommended checking on the water pipes in your attic or basement.

“You want to check the insulation to make sure that the joints are well taped and that the insulation hasn’t come apart,” said Smith.

We also stopped by Dan West Garden Center in Eads, Tennessee to talk to an expert about protecting your plants.

Dan West Garden Center manager Tom Scott recommended bringing in any indoor plants that are still out.

“Any tropical plants out that you want to save, you have to get those in,” said Scott.

With more than 20 years experience in gardening, he said annuals should survive the cold.

"If you haven't planted them yet I would throw a cloth over them. Never throw plastic over anything you're trying to protect. Always use a cloth," said Scott.

He also said using a bed sheet should do the trick.

Because we had warm weather into September, Scott said a lot of people delayed planting their perennials due to the heat.

"As far as perennials are concerned, like costas and some of the other perennials, you can basically take leaves and cover them up," said Scott.

He said his best advice to protect your plants is to follow the forecast.

"We are going to have some ups and downs. It's going to get warmer so don't leave the plants covered too long. When it warms up they need the sunlight," said Scott.

If you have any concerns, he recommended giving a little care, doing some covering, and watching what your plants tell you.

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