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Four 'P's to protect in cold weather - KATC.com | Continuous News Coverage | Acadiana-Lafayette

Four 'P's to protect in cold weather

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When the temperatures drop, it is important to cover tropical plants. When the temperatures drop, it is important to cover tropical plants.
LAFAYETTE, La. -

Temperatures will be dropping below freezing over the next few days. It is important to keep in mind the four 'P's to protect yourself and your home. 

First is pets.

Bring them inside and make sure they have a warm place to sleep. Do not leave them in cars and do not shave their fur. A heavier coat can provide extra warmth.

Second is people.

Coats, gloves and scarves are a given, but some groups, like the elderly, need special attention. Check on your older relatives and neighbors. Make sure they have an emergency kit with medicine, water, food and blankets. 

"A lot of seniors are worried that 'We're going to be cold, but we can't turn the thermostat up because then my bill is going to be high,' " Shannon Broussard, the director for the Cajun Area Agency on Aging, said. "A lot of utility companies have a monthly budget plan where they can pro-rate it through a year's time so they won't be hit with a $300 bill because it got so cold."

She also said to contact your utility company to make sure they will not cut off your power if your bill exceeds $300. 

Broussard said if you check on an elderly person and notice they are slurring their speech, they may be suffering from hypothermia. She said to put blankets on them and call 911. She said a good temperature for them to have their heat set on is 68 degrees.

Next is pipes. 

Protect yours by leaving cabinets under kitchen and bathroom sinks open so your home's heater can warm them up. Also, let your faucets drip. It makes it harder for water to freeze and rupture the pipe leading to leaks. 

Finally, it is important to protect plants. 

The main ones at risk are tropical plants and ones that do not have woody stems like azaleas, camellias, hibiscus, younger citrus plants and more. 

It is important to have a good layer of mulch down to insulate the roots and a cloth to cover the top.

"You want that freeze cloth to drape down to the ground," Dan Weintritt, the retail manager for All Seasons Nursery, said. "What you are doing is trapping that heat from the ground and keeping it underneath that covering to give the plants a couple degrees of extra protection until the next morning. You definitely want to take your potted plants and put them on a covered patio or in your garage. The south-facing wall of your house is going to be 5 to 10 degrees warmer than the north side of your house."

Weintritt suggests using freeze cloths to cover plants because they are a breathable material and can be reused.

He said to continue watering your plants through the freeze and using warm water is not necessary. 

Also, be cautious with space heaters. Make sure nothing is on top of them and they are not near furniture. Do not use ovens or stoves to heat your home. They can release carbon monoxide which can be deadly. 

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