Like most Texans, we love our great State for far too many reasons to list but one thing that tops that list is our weather. As the Arctic air started its way into Central Texas and pushed South this past Thursday we thought, “Ok were getting our first of only a few ‘Winter’ days this Season.” You see, us Texans don’t know how to act in this type of weather. Well, most of us that is. Simply put, we’re not typically prepared for Snow and/or Sleet and were ready for our 70 degree days back. Our hats are off to any ‘Northerners’ out there reading this.
Hopefully the Weatherman will have good news for us soon. In the meantime, it’s important to protect the “Three P’s” as were always reminded of: Pets, Pipes, and Plants. But let’s not stop at just those three. There are a number of things around the house to make sure you’re prepared for the cold and here are a few items at the top of our list:
- Check your windows and doors – A good cleaning will allow you to properly inspect windows for any cracks or damaged caulking that will allow cold air inside. Caulk around window frames and apply weatherstrippingto eliminate air leakage. Add weatherstripping as needed around doors as well, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
- Reverse your Ceiling Fan – Most ceiling fans have a switch that allows you to reverse the direction the blade movement to turn clockwise instead of counter-clockwise. Remember, hot air rises, and the clockwise rotation of the blades will help push the warm air down to where people benefit from it.
- Tune up Your Heating System – Just as in the Summer months, it’s always a good idea to contact an HVAC professional to check and clean the furnace if necessary. Make sure to change the filter regularly to prevent the system from operating inefficiently.
- Clean the Chimney – Before you burn your first Winter fire, make sure your fireplace, chimney and vents are clean and in good repair (and any other heating appliances). Call a Chimney Sweep to help prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from creeping into your home.
- Check Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Make sure that all detectors are working and replace the batteries if needed. It is recommended that working detectors be placed in all bedrooms and in the hallways outside of the bedrooms. Carbon Monoxide Detectors should not be placed too close to any gas appliances, furnace, or fireplace.
- Add insulation – Check the attic to see whether you need to add insulation.
- Hidden Leaks – Check under sinks and anywhere around pipes, vents, or electrical conduit run through walls, ceilings, and floors, and fill them in with an insulating foam sealant or caulk.
- Protect Pipes from Freezing – Insulate any exposed pipes to help minimize water freezing causing them to burst. Check your local hardware store for foam tubes that fit around pipes for insulation.
- Clean the Gutters – It’s always a good idea to have Gutters cleaned out before winter rains (and the ever so slight chance of snow) arrives. Gutters tend to accumulate fallen leaves and debris often causing drainage problems resulting in damage to roofing, siding and wood trim.
- Mulch Leaves when you mow – When dry, mowing the leaves allow small pieces to fall among the grass blades, where they will decompose and nourish your lawn over the winter.
Of course, there are many other items around this house that could be done but we want you to be able to enjoy yourself too. Happy Winter!