Tips for Winter Home Maintenance

winter landscape

Winters in Texas aren’t as harsh as some areas of the country, but winter home maintenance is still an absolute necessity. Cooler weather and storms can wreak havoc on both the interior and exterior of your home, causing damages that could cost a lot of time and money to fix. Proper maintenance on things like your outdoor drainage systems, sprinklers, furnace, and pipes can protect your home and help you be ready for anything this winter. Here are some suggestions for winter home maintenance to get you started. 

Clean Out You Gutters

home maintenance - man cleaning out rain gutter

Fall debris can clog up and damage your gutters. Blockages cause overflows and back-ups of rain or ice that can affect your home. Your home’s walls and foundation are extremely 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 extensive damage, especially over a long period of time. Before winter hits, it’s best to call a professional to trim any 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

winter home maintenance - frozen pipe on exterior of home

Here in Texas, 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 it against frigid temperatures. This is especially important to consider when it comes to your pipes.

Pipes in crawl spaces, attics or along outside walls are often 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 can burst. Repair any cracks or holes that would result in exposure to cold air and insulate your pipes prior to winter weather arriving. Pipe sleeves are available at hardware and home stores, and can wrap around your pipes to insulate them and keep them warm. If you can get to the pipes, putting on a sleeve is simple and can go a long way to prevent costly repairs.

Improve the Insulation

Over time the insulation in your home can settle, causing portions of your home to be poorly protected from the cold. Check the insulation in areas like your attic and garage, and around vents and light fixtures where cold air could squeeze in. 

Fix Outdoor Drainage Problems

drainage - outdoor drain

If there is an area on your property that isn’t draining well, it should be fixed as soon as possible. You don’t want rain or snow draining towards the foundation of your home. This can be a difficult task to do in cold weather, so it’s best to tackle it before winter arrives. 

Learn More: The Rundown on Drains

Make Exterior Repairs

A little winter home maintenance now can go a long way to prevent damage later. Before the cold weather hits, be sure to seal any gaps around your windows and doors. Make any needed repairs to your roof, siding or stonework. 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 to get away from the cold. Pest problems are easier to prevent than they are to fix.

Winterize the Sprinkler System and Outdoor Water Features

sprinklers - automatic sprinkler system

Although excessively cold snaps are usually brief, freezing temperatures can cause extensive damage to your pipes and irrigation systems. Water accumulates and sits in the pipes, even if you aren’t running your sprinklers. When the temperatures drop, that water can freeze and expand, causing cracks, holes, or bursting of your pipes. Winterizing your sprinkler system and draining and winterizing outdoor water features is a good way to protect your investment in the colder, winter months. 

Learn More: Winterizing Your Sprinkler System

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 you save money on your heating bills.

Protect Your Outdoor Furniture

outdoor construction - outdoor living area with seating and fireplace

Your outdoor furniture provides a great place to sit and relax, no matter what time of year it is. But at the end of the warm-weather season, it’s often neglected. Before winter arrives, give your outdoor furniture a good cleaning. If you do not have a patio cover or plans to use your outdoor furniture over the winter months, bring it indoors for storage or cover it with a good quality weatherproof cover to protect it from the outdoor elements and weather. 

Learn More: How to Enjoy Outdoor Living this Winter

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, and can prevent costly damages and extensive work later. 

Fire Features

Just because winter is here doesn't mean you can't enjoy the outdoors. Extend the outdoor season with these tips for enjoying your fire pit.