Even though it doesn’t feel like winter is coming in Texas, it’s coming. Yes, the last few winters have been unseasonably warm with a few record-breaking highs. But you can count on the cold to make an appearance and you want your home to be prepared for it.
Yes, this is a must-do for old and new DFW homes. You stave off potential damage, lower your energy bills, prolong the life of your home, and minimize the chances of running into expensive repairs.
Check windows and doors for drafts.
Drafts can drive up your energy bill. Sealing them with weather-stripping is an easy way to fix that. Use caulk to fill cracks.
Get heating system tuned up.
Schedule a technician to inspect your furnace or heat pump to verify it’s clean and has no issues.
Test smoke alarms and monoxide detectors.
You want to change the batteries in your smoke alarms once a year, so this is a good time to do it. Verify every room has a smoke alarm and test each one. You might want to contact your alarm service provider or fire department for testing tips. This prevents setting off a real alarm during testing and being charged for the fire department’s services.
Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas and impossible to detect. That’s why the U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends having one on each floor in your home. Best places to put them are near water heaters, gas fireplaces, and gas-burning appliances. When installing them, follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
Prepare pipes and faucets.
Cover exposed pipes outside and in attics, garages, basements, and any others with little insulation. You can use 1/4-inch of newspapers or a pipe sleeve. Remember to inspect the sprinkler lines, swimming pool lines, and outdoor hose bibs.
Detach garden hoses from faucets and put them away. Drain all outdoor faucets and irrigation systems to prevent pipes from bursting.
Schedule chimney sweep service.
In addition to doing a cleaning, a professional chimney service can inspect the chimney for cracks, debris, and loose bricks. Considering this is Texas, you may never use the fireplace. In this case, clue the flue to block drafts and animals.
Clear gutters and downspouts.
Water can back up and damage the wood trim, siding, and woof when gutters fill with debris. Though the chance of getting an ice dam is small, these can cause leaks that could lead to expensive repairs. Also look for any problems on the roof trim and repair it.
Inspect your foundation and roof.
Look for cracks or holes in the foundation. For any you find, fill them with steel wool and top off with caulking. You can take an extra step to protect the foundation by installing downspouts to divert water away from the foundation.
Give the roof the once over for loose, damaged, or missing shingles, and replace them. Also, check for damaged or rusted flashing around pipes, chimneys, and skylights because they could cause leaks.
Here’s a checklist to help you track your home maintenance tasks.
Winter home maintenance checklist
|o||Check windows and doors for drafts.|
|o||Seal drafts and cracks with weather-stripping or caulk.|
|o||Get a heating system tune-up.|
|o||Check the batteries on alarms and detectors.|
|o||Test smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors.|
|o||Wrap exposed water pipes.|
|o||Detach garden hoses and put away.|
|o||Drain outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.|
|o||Schedule chimney sweep service to inspect and clean chimney.|
|o||Clear gutters and downspouts.|
|o||Fill cracks or holes in foundation with steel wool and caulking.|
|o||Inspect roof for damaged shingles and corroded flashing.|
|o||Replace damaged and curled shingles.|