Although it may not quite feel like it yet, winter is just around the corner! As cool weather gives way to cold weather, there are several things you can do to make sure you stay safe and warm this winter.
Here are a few of our top tips for preparing your home for the winter season.
Protect those pipes!
If you’ve had a pipe burst on you, it’s not something you ever want to experience again. A burst pipe can cause serious damage, and cold weather is most often the culprit. To avoid this from happening, leave faucets dripping in very cold weather. There are various temperature thresholds for freezing pipes given around the web, yet dripping faucets any time temperatures drop near freezing is a good rule of thumb.
Many of us have sprinkler systems here in Texas, so it is important to pay attention to those as well. Know where your drain valves are, and leave them open to drain water after turning off your water supply.
If a pipe does burst on you, check out this article from familyhandyman.com – it features some great tips to limit the damage.
Test and service your heating system
Most of us have already turned our heat on at some point during the fall, but if you’ve been toughing it out, it’s time to make sure your heating system is working properly. To ensure your furnace is operating as efficiently as possible, change out your furnace filter on a monthly basis. Clogged and dirty filters can cause improper heating throughout your home, not to mention run up your monthly heating bill. If you are concerned about the condition of your heating system, servicing the unit before temperatures drop too far is recommended.
Clear the way for Old Saint Nick
As many of us begin to use our fireplaces regularly, it is important to make sure you are doing so safely. Check your flue to make sure that it closes properly when you are not using your fireplace. You should not feel any cold air coming down the chimney when it is in a closed position. Before lighting up, you will also want to make sure that your fireplace is clean and free of any critters. For DIY-ers, you can purchase a cleaning kit for around $50. Whether you hire a chimney sweep or not, regular maintenance is recommended for safety and will help you to avoid future costs.
Bonus Tip: In addition to maintaining your fireplace, remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. With your home sealed up for winter, it is important as ever that these are in working order.
Seal out the cold
Windows and doors are important to pay attention to when it comes to keeping winter weather out and warmer air in. As they age, gaps may occur that make it tougher to keep your home warm. Caulking windows and installing new weather stripping are both inexpensive and easy to do for those that are less inclined to take on home projects. This article from energy.gov outlines the different types of caulk and provides step-by-step application instructions.
Keep critters at bay
Your attic is a perfect place for squirrels, birds, and more to escape the cold. If you aren’t keen on welcoming some new pets into your family, or the potential damage that comes with them, you’ll want to make sure your home is prepared to keep them out. One way to do this is to check the gable vents in your attic to ensure they are intact. You can also install screening to add an additional layer of protection. Your soffits are also areas that critters target, so walk around your home to check for any holes or gaps that may be of concern. Finally, trim your trees so that branches are not too close to your house – these can become easy access!
We hope you make this winter a great one! If you need referrals for service providers to help with any of the items above, comment below or give us a call and we would be happy to help get you connected. You can also comment below with any additional tips you’d like to share.
Happy holidays from all of us here at Van Poole Properties!