Cold, Winter Weather Tips

During periods of extreme cold and/or winter weather, remember to protect the four P’s: People, Pets, Pipes, and Plants:

  • People should dress warmly and in layers. Check on family, friends, and neighbors who may be susceptible to this week’s cold weather and/or not have access to housing and heating, including the elderly and those with special needs. The Coalition for the Homeless coordinates information for partner agencies and the general public and maintains an updated list of those resources for individuals who may be experiencing homelessness:
  • Pets should be brought indoors or provided with a warm place to sleep.
  • Pipes that run outside or under a house should be wrapped in pipe insulation to avoid cracks due to water freezing in them. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinets under your sinks to allow heat to enter them.
  • Plants may need to be covered or brought inside to avoid frost damage.

Safely Use Space Heaters

Heating devices cause more than 100 fires in the City of Houston each year, resulting in numerous injuries and possible death. Citizens should always keep in mind that: Space Heaters Need Space!

The Houston Fire Department recommends the following safety tips when using supplemental heating sources:

  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.
  • Never leave children unattended in a room with a space heater – Children knock over space heaters, especially if they are placed on top of wobbly tables or stools and near where the children play. Children may also stick paper or toys in the grates of the space heaters especially gas space heaters. The city had two reported fires in 2004 caused by children playing with space heaters.
  • Keep all combustible materials, including yourself, at least three feet from the heater.
  • Open face heaters should have a screen.
  • Provide ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning.

Electric Heaters Tips

  • Never overload outlets or breakers.
  • Don’t use extension cords for the heater. If the cord is hot to the touch, turn off the heater and unplug it!
  • Electric heaters permanently installed in the wall or ceiling should have lint and dust removed regularly. Lint and dust will burn!
  • For additional information on safely using space heaters, visit

Rental Property Tips

Landlords are obligated to maintain their rental properties to the minimum standards set by the Houston Housing Code of Ordinances (Sec. 10-363).

Heating equipment must be able to maintain a minimum inside temperature of 70 degrees Fahrenheit (measured three feet above the floor) when it is 20 degrees Fahrenheit outside. To report suspected violations, call 311.

Stay Updated

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For information on roadway conditions, visit or follow the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) on Twitter @TxDOTHouston.