December 3rd, 2018

5 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter Weather

Thanksgiving has wrapped up, November has come to an end and now it’s time to prepare your home for the unpredictable weather South Texas winters bring. These five tips will ensure that your home is prepared properly and help save on large amounts of money in future repairs, all while protecting your property for years to come.

Check Your Heating and AC System

Most heating systems last about 12-15 years. Filters get dirty much more quickly if your home is dusty or if you have pets. Clogged or dirty filters are less efficient, which means your home might not warm up properly. Take some time to change your filters at the start of the winter season and then every two to four months. You should also have an HVAC contractor inspect your system to make sure your furnace or heat pump is clean and in good repair.

Seal Any Air Leaks and Add Insulation

As much as 30 percent of your heated or cooled air can be lost when it leaks outdoors. These leaks can add up to $300 a year in heating and cooling costs. Check all the weatherstripping around your windows and door frames for leaks to prevent heat loss. Ensuring your home is well insulated will also help with this. Ask at your hardware store for the correct products and seal any leaks by installing foam or felt weatherstripping. Also, be sure to use caulk to fill small gaps in your chimney, vent stacks and ducts. Pressurized expanding foam can be used for bigger openings. You can hire a professional to insulate your attic, basement and any crawl space you may have. Keep in mind if you prefer to do this portion yourself, the batt and roll application method is the easiest.

Heat Things Up

We all love enjoying a cozy evening at home by the fireplace, so make sure your fireplace is ready to provide for warm nights in. Be sure to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. Have them perform a routine check of your heating systems which should include vacuuming the vents and any other heating components you may have. If your furnace has a filter, check to see if it needs replacing. Also, consider installing a setback thermostat that keeps the home cooler when you are asleep or away for more energy savings.

Add a Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat can save up to $180 a year on fuel costs. It saves fuel by automatically lowering or raising your home’s temperature while you’re away and keeps temperatures consistent. Programming it to be cooler at night and when you’re not at home will also save you money and you can program it to be warmer for when you return or get up on cold winter mornings.

Clean the Gutters

Cleaning out your gutters will help drain water away from your house and avoid major issues this season. During the colder months, clogged gutters are more likely to freeze, which can allow melting ice and snow to seep into your roof, or flood your home’s foundation, causing major damage. Work with a trusted professional or contractor to have your gutters cleaned before it gets too cold.