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Cold-weather Tips and Resources for Shelter, Pets, Power and Pipes

Cold-weather Tips and Resources for Shelter, Pets, Power and Pipes
Posted on 01/11/2024
A thermometer measuring below zero degrees sits in a pile of snow

The National Weather Service has issued a Wind Chill Watch for the Aurora area, with a dangerously cold forecast Jan. 12 to 16. Wind chills could reach as low as –30 degrees Fahrenheit. Please take care, be prepared, and check on neighbors who may need assistance. Learn more about how to prepare for winter weather with the city's Weather Wise or the Colorado Red Cross.

Below are some tips from Aurora Water, Xcel Energy,, Aurora’s Homelessness Program and Aurora Animal Shelter in preparation for the storm.

Shelter/transportation services

Everyone deserves a safe, warm place to sleep. Although the city of Aurora is not a direct service provider, it funds agencies in the community to provide services to individuals experiencing homelessness.

The Aurora Day Resource Center is available for shelter when there is severe life-threatening weather (20 degrees or below). The center is located at 13387 E. 19th Place and will be activated as a 24/7 space through Wednesday, Jan. 17, and will re-evaluate on that date if extended operations are necessary. This center can accommodate close to 200 individuals per night and is managed by Mile High Behavioral Healthcare. Staff at the center will provide referrals to families for family-designated shelters, such as Comitis Crisis Center.

The city’s Aurora Cold Weather Outreach Team (ACOT) will be activated Thursday, Jan. 11, through Sunday, Jan. 14. This team is a collaboration between the Aurora Police Department, Aurora Fire Rescue, street outreach personnel and mental health professionals that conducts outreach to individuals experiencing homelessness at encampments on cold weather nights to encourage them to access shelter. This team provides resources and transportation to shelters. 

The city will continue its outreach efforts to help those experiencing homelessness to access shelter, including Pallet shelters and Aurora Day Resource Center.

Aurora sits in three counties, which are the lead health and human services agencies at the local level, and they also provide assistance to those experiencing homelessness.

For additional information, visit

Protecting your home pipes

Aurora Water offers the following tips on how to prevent your home plumbing from freezing during extreme cold:

  • Leave cabinet doors open in your bathrooms and kitchen to allow warm air to circulate around the plumbing. Don't forget to move household chemicals and cleaners out of the reach of kids and pets.
  • If you have an older home or business with pipes prone to freezing, allow cold water to drip from your faucets. Running water through the pipe – even at a trickle – helps prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Ensure all hoses are disconnected from outside spigots.
  • If you plan to be out of town, keep your thermostat set to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Otherwise, it may get cold enough to freeze pipes anywhere in the home or business.
  • Make sure there are no air gaps on the outside walls where air can blow on the pipes, especially in your basement.
  • Locate your master water shutoff so you can turn off your water where it comes into your home or business if a leak or break occurs.

NOTE: If you believe your pipes are frozen, the quickest solution is to call a plumber to have your pipes checked. For more information on preventing or thawing frozen pipes, or for help locating your water meter or master shutoff, call Aurora Water’s Customer Service line at 303.326.8645.

What to do if a power outage occurs?

Extreme cold can cause electrical outages. Xcel Energy is preparing staff and services in case there are any outages related to the upcoming cold-weather event.

If you suspect a natural gas leak, get out of the home or building immediately, call 911 and then contact Xcel at 800.895.2999.

If you experience a power outage, please report it to or text “Out” to 98936.

If your power does go out, there are some steps to take:

  • Keep windows and doors shut and use towels to plug any gaps that may let in outside air.
  • Turn faucets on to a trickle to prevent pipes from freezing.
  • Check on neighbors who are older or disabled and may need assistance.
  • Plan ahead to have batteries and alternative power sources available to meet your needs when the power goes out, such as a portable charger or power bank. Never run a generator indoors.
  • Have flashlights for every household member.

Conserve energy, help your wallet

Save money with these energy conservation tips provided by Xcel: 

  • Lower your thermostat - During winter months, set the thermostat between 65-70 degrees while you're home, and 58 degrees when you're away. A programmable thermostat automatically adjusts the temperature based on your routine and could help you save on heating costs.
  • Let the sunlight in and keep the cold out - Open blinds to take advantage of the sun's warmth during the day but close them at night to insulate against the cold air outside.
  • Make sure exterior doors are fully closed - A major source of a home’s heat loss is from exterior doors that are left cracked open or not latched.
  • Use fans to your advantage - During colder months, run ceiling fans clockwise, so the warm air near the ceiling is forced down.
  • Keep your oven's heat where it belongs - Use your oven light or timer to avoid opening it often while you cook; each time the door is opened even for just a few seconds, the temperature drops 25 degrees.
  • Lower your water heater's temperature or insulate it - The proper temperature for a water heater is 120 degrees Fahrenheit. By lowering it 10 degrees, you can save 3-5% on your water heating costs; you can also insulate it to maximize efficiency.
  • Keep filters clean - Dirty furnace filters reduce airflow, requiring your furnace to work harder and use more energy. Change the filter once a month during the winter to reduce your heating costs by 5-15%.
  • Don't let the heat escape - Affordable window sealing kits can be found in most local home improvement stores and can help you save. Have your home evaluated for leaky ducts, drafts around doors and windows, fireplace dampers and other places where air might escape.
  • Improve insulation - Improving the insulation of walls, crawl spaces, floors and heating ducts is one of the fastest and most cost-effective ways to reduce energy costs, saving you up to 10% on your monthly energy bill.

More information on ways to save energy can be found on the Energy Saving Tips page at

Protecting pets from the cold

According to city ordinance, all pets must have adequate protection from the weather and have access to food and water. The following safety tips apply to dogs and cats:

  • Limit the time pets stay outdoors during freezing temperatures.
  • A poorly insulated shelter may not provide the warmth needed to keep a pet safe when temperatures dip below freezing. Pets exposed to harsh weather conditions for an extended period of time can result in hypothermia, frostbite or even death. Further, water available to them is likely to freeze.
  • If you decide to walk your dog, do so midday when it is typically the warmest. Walks should be short to limit their exposure to the cold. Dogs with shorter fur coats, small dogs and senior pets can easily feel the effects of the cold. Providing your dog with a coat, sweater or booties can be beneficial in keeping them warm. Booties can also protect their paws from harsh chemicals used for deicing. Please consider using pet safe salt for snow melt.

Being neglectful to a pet's needs can result in a cruelty charge, a hefty fine and in some cases confiscation of the animal. If you believe a pet is being mistreated, please contact our Animal Protection Officers at 303.326.8288, option 6. (Monday to Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; weekends 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.) For after-hours reports, please contact police non-emergency dispatch at 303.627.3100.

For additional pet tips and shelter news, follow the Aurora Animal Shelter on Facebook at, Instagram at @AuroraCoAnimalShelter or visit

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