For the past couple of winters, DFW Texas temperatures have been quite the roller coaster. One day it could be 70 degrees. The next, it could be below freezing. Despite DFW having fewer days of cold temps, homeowners still need to do these home maintenance steps to prevent expensive emergencies.
When you winterize home, you also lower energy bills, extend the life of your home, and protect your property from flooding and other pricey disasters.
Here are 7 steps you can take to winterize home and minimize costs.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. This is the easiest way to lower the energy bill. Add or replace weather-stripping to seal leaks. Use caulk on cracks.
- Protect pipes. Use a pipe-sleeve or 1/4-inch of newspaper on exposed water pipes, such as sprinkler lines; outdoor hose bibs, and swimming pool lines. Also check pipes in attics, garages, basements, and any others with little insulation. Remove garden hoses and drain the water in the faucets.
- Contact a chimney sweep service. It’s best to have a professional chimney cleaner do maintenance on your chimney. A professional will clean your chimney and inspect for cracks, loose bricks, and debris. If you don’t use the fireplace, consider closing the flue permanently to prevent drafts and animals from entering your home.
- Request a heating system tune-up. A technician inspects your heat pump or furnace to ensure it’s clean and problem-free.
- Clean the gutters. Gutters filled with debris can cause water to back up and damage the siding, roof, and wood trim. It can also cause leaks and ice dams. Clean the gutters. Also check the fascia boards (roof trim) for damage and repair as needed.
- Protect your foundation. One way to protect foundation is to add downspouts to move water away from the foundation by a few feet. Seal any spots in which mice or rats can enter and close vents in crawl spaces. They can crawl through holes the size of a nickel and half-dollar respectively. Fill cracks and holes with steel wool and finish off with caulking.
- Test smoke alarms and monoxide detectors. Every room should have a smoke alarm. Change the batteries in your smoke alarms at least once a year. It’s also wise to test each one every month. The U.S. National Library of Medicine recommends installing a carbon monoxide detector on each floor of the home and near gas fireplaces, water heaters, and any other gas-burning appliances.
These simple home maintenance steps take a little bit of your time. However, they will save you a lot in terms of money and safety. You’ll cut your chances of having an emergency and prevent energy bill shock.
DFW Texas weather causes problems for many homes. If you run into an emergency situation, you might have to wait longer than you’d like for a home maintenance team to show up. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.