Is your home winter ready?
Although it may not feel like winter in North Texas, we are getting closer to the colder months, so homeowners should start making sure their house is ready for winter weather. While we don’t have the same issues as northern states known for significant snowfall, freezing temps can wreak havoc on an unprepared home.
One drawback of living in Dallas/Fort Worth is although we may not get the extreme artic weather; we have crazy swings on a daily basis. It’s not uncommon to have a day with freezing temps in the morning to be followed by a sunny afternoon in the low 80s.
Here are a few things you should do to get your DFW home ready for the colder months:
1. Clean your gutters.
If you’re like most homeowners, you probably don’t pay any attention to your rain gutters until there’s an issue (especially given the amount of rainfall we’ve received this year). The problem with ignoring gutters is you likely won’t realize the problems caused during the fall. Leaves will fill your gutters and can cause damage and prevent them from doing their primary job: diverting water. It’s typically recommended to check your gutters around mid-December, after the trees in your neighborhood have had a chance to shed leaves. You don’t want to wait until one of our nasty ice-storms to realize that your gutters are clogged and you now have 20 pounds of ice hanging over your head.
2. Seal your windows and doors
Many homeowners don’t realize how much of an impact differnet seasons can have on their home. Wild swings in temperature can cause structures to expand and contract, which can lead to cracks and crevices appearing around doors and windows. If left unchecked, this will lead to moisture getting into your home or destroying door and window frames. Take a few minutes to walk around your home and make sure you don’t have any large cracks, and if you do, address them as soon as possible. Caulking cracks isn’t that difficult and is definitely a home repair every homeowner should be comfortable doing. This can also save on energy bills by keeping the heat inside your house.
3. Get your HVAC unit serviced
There’s nothing worse than finding out you have a heating issue during one of our unexpected cold fronts. Actually, a surprise bill because of an avoidable issue with your system might be worse. Most heating and cooling failures can be prevented by proper service schedules, which can be pretty inexpensive. You should have a service company come out and check your system at least twice a year, and should make a note to replace air filters every 3 months (every 2 months if you have pets in the house).
4. Get your chimney cleaned
A clean chimney is something that most homeowners in Texas definitely overlook. Granted, you may only use your chimney a few times each year, but if it’s been decades since you’ve had it cleaned, you should schedule an appointment with a chimney sweep (yes, that’s still a profession). Even if everything appears fine from the exterior, you may have internal issues that could lead to costly repairs. Another problem to watch out for if you have a chimney are bird and rodent nests. It’s not uncommon for mice or the occasional squirrel family to set up residence in chimneys that aren’t used on a regular basis. You definitely don’t want to start a fire only to find that your chimney is block be a family of squirrels. You’ll have some angry squirrels and a smoky house to contend with, and that’s never a good way to start the holidays.
5. Prep your plumbing
Anyone who has ever dealt with a burst water pipe will always remember to winterize their plumbing. Coming home to a flooded yard because your sprinkler system broke can lead to a giant holiday headache. If you have an in ground sprinkler system you need to schedule an irrigation company to come blow out your lines. Pool owners are another group that should play it safe with plumbing. If you have a temperature gauge on your filtration system, make sure it is set to kick on a little above freezing. Pipes that are filled with water WILL BREAK when it freezes. In most cases, this hassle can be completely avoided with proper preparation. Make sure any exposed pipes are insulated and don’t forget to turn off any exterior faucets that may be on a timer. While your kids might think it’s cool to have an ice rink in your front yard, your neighbors will likely be less impressed.