Getting Your Home Ready for Winter

Winter weather is just around the corner, and while we in Houston are fortunate not to have to prepare for extreme cold or snow, there are still a few things that every smart homeowner should do to get their house ready for winter.

Before you start roasting chestnuts on an open fire, make sure your fireplace is clean. It’s recommended that chimneys are cleaned and inspected annually, although if you have gas logs you may be able to go a little longer as they make a lot less mess than a traditional wood-burning fire. Chimney sweep Groupons abound, so getting your fireplace cleaned and checked for potential safety hazards won’t break the bank. A dirty or damaged chimney can lead to a fire that spreads to the roof or the rest of your home, so don’t skip on this important task!

In order to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting on exceptionally cold days, make sure you have all of your outdoor spigots and exposed water pipes wrapped up. You can buy pipe insulation at any hardware store for a few dollars, and it takes only a moment to cut it to length and place the foam tube around the exposed parts of your piping. If you have a lot of landscaping that isn’t well suited to cold weather, you may also want to plan ahead and find blankets to cover the delicate plants with on cold nights so that they survive the winter.

Consider having a professional HVAC tune up done by a reputable service company. This will include checking your furnace assemble, lubricating any moving parts, cleaning ignition, elements, and heat exchanger, checking gas supply for leaks, and making sure your system is operating as it should be. You’ll also need to change your air filters to help the system work more efficiently and prevent dust build up. Furnaces are very expensive to replace, so it’s best to maintain them and catch any potential problems before they ruin your furnace.

Keep your heating bills down by checking the weatherstripping around your windows and doors and replacing it if you feel a draft. When you have cold air constantly coming inside, your heating system will have to work harder to keep up. If you live in an older home with the original single-pane windows, you may eventually want to replace them with more energy-efficient modern windows that provide more protection from the weather. Heavy drapes or blinds also offer some protection from cold air coming through closed windows.

With these simple, inexpensive tasks completed, your home will be ready for winter and you can relax by the fire without a care. Now the only thing to worry about is what kind of hot chocolate you want to make first!