Winter is almost here!

While winter in Texas is not like winter up north, it is still a good idea to take a few steps to prepare your house for the cold. Here are 12 tips for preparing your home for winter.

 

Reverse your ceiling fans. 

Change the direction your ceiling fans rotate. Ceiling fans should rotate clockwise at a low speed, doing so pulls the cooler air up and pushes the warmer air down to the floor. It may sound silly but every little bit helps.

 

Protect your home from drafts

Check windows and around the trim of your house for gaps. Over time the caulk can wear away and gaskets/seals around doors will begin to dry and crack. Drafts can sneak in through these gaps in windows, doors and pipes leading outside. These gaps allow moisture and little critters in along with the cold air.

For a better seal, remove any lose caulk, dust and dirt and apply a bead of caulk around your windows, trim and any other openings. Also be sure to check the weatherstripping around all exterior doors to make sure it is intact and still provides a good seal along the edges and be sure to replace any that is dry, cracked or worn out.

Creating a solid seal around all opening will help to keep the warm air in and bugs out of your home

 

Clean and update gutters

Gutters collect a range of debris from small twigs to leaves and dirt. This debris can easily block water from draining and can then freeze inside of the gutters and cause further damage if not removed. Use a ladder and bucket to go around the perimeter of your roofline pulling out all debris from the gutters. While cleaning the gutters be sure to inspect all parts including downspouts to see if anything needs to be repaired or replaced. 

 

Have your chimney inspected

If you own a home with a chimney,  it’s a good idea to have it inspected before building your first fire of the new season. Creosote along with other chemicals will build up along the walls on the inside of the chimney and can cause damage including unwanted fires. A simple chimney inspection will let you know if everything is in good working order or if you need to have it professionally cleaned. 

 

Preparing your garden

Now is time to prepare your garden with a few simple steps. Remove any dead leaves from the garden because heavy blankets/layers of dead leaves can rot out the plants underneath. Most soil stays warmer than dry soil so before the temperature drops too low be sure to water your garden thoroughly before the temperature drops below freezing. 

Adding a layer of mulch helps to regulate the soil temperature, suppress weeds, and helps to keep moisture in the soil. Protect any newly-planted trees/bushes and delicate plants from cold winds by wrapping them. People often use blankets, burlap sacks and newspaper.

 

Hot Water Heater Installation

Most newer water tanks are insulated already but many of the older ones are not. An easy way to see whether or not your water heater is insulated is to simply touch it. If its warm to the touch then it usually needs additional insulation. Blankets and pre-cut jackets for water heaters are sold at most hardware stores. It’s a small investment and could save you up to 15% on your water heating bill. 

 

Reverse your ceiling fans

Change the direction your ceiling fans rotate. Ceiling fans should rotate clockwise at a low speed, doing so pulls the cooler air up and pushes the warmer air down to the floor. It may sound silly but every little bit helps.

 

Furnace Maintenance

Replace filters in the furnace and make sure that the cold air returns are not obstructed by anything such as furniture.  Dirty filters and blocked returns can decrease your furnace’s efficiency and cost you extra dollars.

Filters should be replaced every month, regardless of time of year.  Having your heating system checked yearly by a professional is a good habit to get into.

 

Install a smart thermostat

A great way to regulate the temperature in your house is to install a smart thermostat.  For example, you can have it set to be cool in your house while nobody is home and have it warm and toasty by the time you get home.  Most smart thermostats will link up with your cell phone so you can keep an eye on the temperature and make adjustments while away from home. Keeping the temperature lower during those times when you’re not home translates into lower heating bills.

 

Protecting outdoor faucets

Winterizing your outdoor faucets will help prevent them from freezing. Freezing of the faucet/pipes can lead to severe damage including burst pipes. 

Turn off the water going to the outdoor faucet and then disconnect and drain the hoses attached to the faucets.

Most faucet covers come in one of two styles. They are either made of rigid thermal foam with a gasket around the edges, or they are flexible insulated bags that you secure round the spigot. Both styles create a strong seal around the base of the spigot and this provides a good insurance against spigots rupturing due to freezing. 

Even if you have “frost free” or “freeze proof” spigots, it is still smart to cover them up. Extreme weather and temperatures can still cause a ruptured pipe.

 

Inspect your roof thoroughly

Look for missing or damaged shingles, shingles that are curled or buckled, and shingles that have lost a noticeable amount of their granules.  Shingles that buckle in the middle of the tab could be an indication that there’s excess moisture due to poor venting in the attic.  That should be addressed as soon as possible.  Make sure the vents are free from any birds nest. Curling shingles and shingles with granule loss are a sign that you’ll have to replace your roof in the foreseeable future, probably in one to three years.  Missing shingles should always be replaced immediately. Missing shingles can easily allow rain, frost and snow to penetrate and make their way into the house. Most people are only able to see part of their roof from the ground, so be sure to check the entire roof.

 

Have your home professionally inspected

We always recommend using a professional for any tune-up, or inspection or home repair. We never recommend getting on a ladder, or trying to do inspections yourself. We have spent years learning safe and professional inspection techniques. If you find yourself thinking you might want to have your property professionally inspected, give us a call or reach out to us online to schedule for free without any obligation. We are A+ Rated with the BBB, and have helped thousands of homeowners here in DFW.

 

Written by our wonderful Storm Repair and Roofing Subject Matter Expert:

Johnathan Turner

Rebuild Texas Roof and Windows