Even though Texas winters aren’t as harsh as some areas of the country, winter home maintenance is still a necessity. Cooler weather and storms can wreak havoc on your home and being prepared is your best line of defense. Here are some suggestions for winter home maintenance to get you started.
Tune Up Your Furnace
Your furnace should be inspected before you need to turn it on. Make sure it’s in good working order and get any necessary repairs out of the way before it gets cold. This includes changing the filter and getting the ducts and vents cleaned if necessary. This will also help save money on your heating bills.
Clean Out the Gutters
Fall debris can clog up the gutters. Blockages cause overflows and back-ups of rain or ice that can damage your home. Your home’s walls and foundation are most vulnerable. Staying on top of this winter home maintenance task can save you money and big headaches by preventing water damage.
Trim Trees and Bushes
A little tree trimming can cut down on the debris in your gutters and prevent damage to your home if winter storms do happen. Any branches that brush against the siding, windows, or roofs can cause damage. Call a professional to trim trees that are close to power lines, to lessen the chance a winter storm will take out power to your home. Tending to the landscape will also help your trees and plants grow better in the spring.
Protect Pipes from Freezing
In the southern U.S., temperatures below freezing are the exception rather than the rule. This difference means your home may not have some of the design features that help protect against bursting pipes. Pipes in crawl spaces, attics or along outside walls can be exposed to cold air. The water inside the pipes freezes and expands, causing an increase in pressure inside the pipe. If the pressure gets to be too much, the pipe will burst. Repair any cracks or holes that would result in exposure to cold air and insulate your pipes prior to winter weather. Pipe sleeves are available at hardware and home stores. If you can get to the pipes, putting on the insulating sleeve is easy and can go a long way to prevent costly repairs.
Improve the Insulation
Over time the insulation in your home can settle and you may need to add more to be properly protected from the cold. Double check areas around vents and light fixtures. Once it’s cold, you’ll be glad you did.
Winterize the Sprinkler System and Outdoor Water Features
Although excessively cold snaps are usually brief, some parts of northern Texas have a deep frost line. Winterizing your sprinkler system and draining and winterizing outdoor water features is a good idea to protect your investment.
Make Exterior Repairs
A little winter home maintenance now can go a long way to prevent wind and water damage. Seal any gaps around windows and doors and make any needed repairs to your roof, siding or stone work. Remember the outside of your house is the first line of defense against bad weather. Pay extra attention to any area where small animals or rodents could enter the building. Pest problems are easier to prevent than they are to fix.
Fix Outdoor Drainage Problems
If there is an area on your property that isn’t draining well, you should fix it as soon as possible. Depending on what is needed to fix the problem, it might not be practical to do in colder weather. You don’t want rain or snow draining toward the foundation of your home.
At the end of the season, give outdoor furniture a good cleaning. Bring it indoors for storage or cover it with a good quality weatherproof cover to protect it from wind damage, debris and insects.
A little winter home maintenance can help prevent serious problems for your home. Taking the time now to protect your home both inside and out is well worth the effort.