Winter has officially arrived! To help you prepare for colder temps now that the holidays are over, we've created this checklist of winter maintenance items that will keep your home in tip top shape throughout the season.
1. Protect your pipes
If you’ve had a pipe burst on you like many DFW residents experienced last winter, it’s not something you ever want to go through 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.
2. 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 frequently. Different filters last longer than others, so if you’re unsure, replacing monthly is a good practice.
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 or maintenance of your heating system, servicing the unit before temperatures drop too far is highly recommended.
3. Check your fireplace
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.
If you are less inclined to check your flue, a damper clip can literally be a lifesaver, as it keeps the flue in a slightly open position to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning from running your fireplace without the flue being in the open position. Best of all, they can be installed in less than a minute!
Before lighting up, you will also want to make sure that your fireplace is clean and free of any critters. For maintenance 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.
4. 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 and your home shifts, 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.
5. Keep critters at bay
Your attic is a perfect place for squirrels, birds, and other small critters 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, if you haven’t trimmed your trees during the fall season, check to make sure that branches are not too close to your house – these can become easy access!
We hope the winter season brings you much joy and happiness! If you need referrals for service providers to help with any of the items above, simply fill out the form below or give us a call and we would be happy to help get you connected.