It's almost November, and even though we still have beautiful weather and warm temperatures in Texas, it won't be long until the temperature drops below freezing. Remember Icepocalypse 2013? That was almost a year ago! While the weather is still nice, take advantage of it by winterizing your house - you won't regret it! Here are some helpful tips for prepping your home for the cold:
1. Clean the gutters
Gutters create the perfect resting place for leaves, twigs, and other debris, especially if your home is surrounded by trees - make sure to clear them out so that winter rain/ice has a place to drain. Full gutters can lead to roof problems if snow and ice is heavy enough and it has nowhere to go.
2. Check your attic
It might be a good idea to add insulation in your attic. It's supposed to be extra cold this winter, due to our mild summer, so it wouldn't hurt to re-insulate your attic. If anything else, it will save you in the cost of heating your home!
3. Fix leaky doors and windows
Add caulk or weather stripping to any holes you may find around your home. This can prevent cold air from seeping into your home - and will also save you money on energy bills!
4. Test the furnace
When checking your furnace, a foul odor might be present when you first turn it on, this is normal. If possible, get a professional to clean your furnace so that you know it will be working properly when winter comes. Texas weather is so unpredictable, we might have a really cold night sooner than expected, so get your furnace in working order sooner rather than later. If you have a fireplace, be sure to get the chimneys cleaned and inspected on a yearly basis.
5. Clean the garage
Clearing out the garage so that your car can stay warm overnight is the easiest way to save you time and money. It's so much faster to get in your car and go in the mornings without having to wait for your car to thaw out! Shielding your car from harsh winter elements with lengthen the life of your car and in the long run, save you money.
6. Plan for your pipes
Frozen pipes can be more than an annoyance. If pipes burst, it can be costly and destructive. Consider installing specific products made to insulate water pipes like a pipe sleeve, heat tape, or heat cable. Newspaper can even provide some degree of insulation to exposed pipes (even 1/4" of newspaper can provide significant protection in areas that usually do not have frequent or prolonged temperatures below freezing). For more tips on preparing your pipes, visit the Red Cross website.
7. Protect your pets
Make sure you have a safe place for outdoor pets to stay when the weather is too cold. If possible, bring them inside - but for livestock, make sure they're sheltered and have access to non-frozen drinking water. Food and water needs to be accessible and not blocked by snow drifts, ice, or other obstacles.
8. Trim your trees
If you remember Icepocalypse, you remember how heavy ice is. Remember all the branches that collapsed under the weight of the ice? Trim excess branches from your trees so that brisk winter wind and blankets of ice don't cause them to break off and cause damage.
9. Make a plan
If you live in an older neighborhood where utilities are not underground, the changes of a power outage are higher during a winter storm. Make sure you have an emergency kit with flashlights, bottled water, and non-perishable food items. Look at nearby hotels that you could possibly stay at in case your electricity goes out (and make sure it's pet friendly if you have pets!) - and the closer the better. Driving on slick streets is a nightmare!
Take advantage of this incredible warm weather and winterize your home to ensure a worry-free and happy holiday season!