Preparing Your Home for Winter

By Brenda Ashaka
Alpha 4 Real AC Repair & Heating Service

In Texas, you can mark it in your Calendar: After the hot summer comes the cold winter. It’s like clockwork, it comes whether we are prepared or not.

But if you have lived in the state long enough, you know preparation is the answer. If you fail to adequately prepare your home for the dreadful winter cold days and nights, your family will ultimately pay the price.

Certainly, preparing your home for cold temperatures is essential but how do you prepare your home for winter? Surely it goes beyond swapping out a few things around the house. It is actually taking deliberate steps to ensure that your home is ready.

As you swap out the warm weather clothes for sweaters and jackets, don’t forget your biggest investment – your home. It needs tender loving care as well.

Here is what you need to do to prepare your home for the winter.

Update Your Home’s Insulation

This is the obvious first step to take. Check and reinforce insulation in your attic, walls, and crawl spaces. Proper insulation helps retain heat and reduces energy costs. The job of your home’s insulation is to keep your home warm or warmer, depending on your Thermostat setting so it makes a lot of sense that you upgrade your home’s insulation as a first step towards preparing for winter.

Inspect Your Weather Stripping

Here is what happens if your weather stripping is not up to par – you burn money. Weather strips are placed around your doors and windows to keep warm air inside and cold air out but if you have not updated them for a while, they become brittle and less effective at doing this. Inspect and replace weather stripping around doors and windows. This helps prevent drafts and keeps warmth inside.

See also: Make Your Home More Energy Efficient by Replacing Your Attic’s Insulation.

Annual Heating System Maintenance

Have you ever been in a situation where you call for a service technician and all you get is appointment that are weeks off? Yes, that happens because all your neighbors who failed to take precautions before the winter blasts set in are trying to do the same thing. Be proactive. Service your heating system before winter. Clean or replace filters, check for any issues, and ensure its operating efficiently. Doing this before winter ensures that you are ready. Waiting to do this until winter sets in could result in you having to wait for weeks to get a technician to your home.

Inspect Chimney and Fireplace

Inspecting your chimney and fireplace annually is essential if you burn woods to keep warm. As you burn wood, you produce soot and other potentially harmful gasses that if not detected and cleaned could pose health threat. If you have a fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Make sure the damper is working correctly. This could save your life and the life of your family.

Find and Seal Leaks

One of the biggest issues homeowners in Texas face every year is movement of their foundation. As the weather shifts from warm to cold, foundations tend to expand and contract. This could lead to cracks showing up around doors and windows. Find these cranks and seal them. Your local retailer may have sealants and caulks to do this and they are relatively cheap. Seal any gaps or cracks in walls, windows, and doors with caulk or weather-resistant sealant to prevent cold air infiltration. This will definitely save you a few dollars.

Consider Pipes and Plumbing

Another area to focus on are your plumbing and pipes. When temperatures drop low enough, these pipes can easily freeze and burst if you have not taken the time to insulate them. Insulate exposed pipes to prevent freezing. If you have an irrigation system, drain it to avoid burst pipes. Doing this one task could save you hundreds if not thousands of dollars if they freeze and burst.

Thermostat Programming

If you do not currently have a Thermostat that allows you to set your desired temperatures, it is time for an upgrade. Yes, programmable thermostats can be expensive depending on the model you choose but they are worth their weight in gold. They will save you a lot of money year after year and keep you and your family warm. Program your thermostat to lower the temperature when you’re away and at night, and increase it when you’re at home. This can save energy and money. Call our AC technicians today if you need help programming your thermostat.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

Most homes in Texas have trees around them. We love our trees and they not only beautify your property, they keep the temperatures around your home down but over time, leaves can clog your gutter and if they are not cleaned out before winter, they can cause water to overflow and settle around your foundation causing mold and mildew or cracks around your foundation. Those will cost thousands of dollars to fix. Clean out gutters to ensure proper drainage. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent debris buildup, which can also lead to ice dams.

Keep Emergency Supplies Handy

Nobody like medical emergencies but we know they can happen so getting prepared for them is the smart thing to do. Emergency Kits can be small or elaborate depending on what you are going for but the important thing is to put one together for you and your family. Keep an emergency kit with essentials like blankets, flashlights, batteries, and non-perishable food in case of power outages or other emergencies.

Outdoor Preparations

Most Texans have outdoor spaces where they like to sit and sip their coffee, tea or beverage of choice. Don’t forget your outdoor space. Bring in outdoor furniture or cover it to protect it from the elements. Also, trim tree branches that could potentially damage your home during storms. Secure all loose furniture or items to ensure they do not become projectiles during winter storms. Flying objects are dangerous to life and limbs. They can also break glasses and windows and could cost thousands to repair or replace.

Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

Talking about health of your family, we will not forget to mention your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. As temperatures drop, families tend to spend more time indoors so it is important that you have working smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to protect your family against dangerous gas leaks. Ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly and replace batteries if needed.

Winterize Your Lawn Equipment

Last but ofcourse, not the least – properly store or winterize lawn equipment to ensure they function well when spring arrives. It can be frustrating to find that your lawnmower or edger has stopped working just when you need to mow your lawn after a long winter.

By taking these steps, you can create a more comfortable and energy-efficient living environment during the colder months.