How to Winterize Your Home Before Chilly Weather Arrives
Now that the holiday season has come to an end, there’s no getting around the fact that winter is officially upon all of us here in Texas. Sure, you may have gotten your winter coats out of storage and piled some extra blankets on the bed, but is your house equally prepared for the cold months ahead? Keep reading to learn how to winterize your home.
We may not see a lot of freezing temperatures here in Richmond, TX during a typical winter, but we learned a lot about what unexpected winter weather can do last year during the winter storm of February 13-17, which was unofficially referred to as Winter Storm Uri. While we all hope we won’t see another one of those this year, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, as they say, so we thought it would be a good idea to offer some tips on how to winterize your home and how to prepare your home for a freeze—just in case.
Whether you’re a longtime resident or this is your very first winter in Richmond, TX, check out our handy checklist for some must-do tips on how to make sure that your home stays cozy warm all winter long, no matter what the weather throws our way.
Winterizing Your Home Checklist:
Before we get into the rest of our winterizing your home checklist, the very first thing you should do is ensure that your home HVAC system is up to snuff. It’s going to be getting quite a workout before the winter is over, and it’s important that everything is ready to go. Inspect the system yourself or hire a heating and cooling pro to do the job for you. Whatever you do, make sure that you change the filters, not just now but regularly throughout the winter! It’s one of the most important parts of ensuring that your system works efficiently and safely all winter long.
Now that you’ve done that, let’s get started:
- Caulk cracks around the outside of doors and windows and maybe even check your siding. Anyplace cold air can get in (or warm air can get out) is going to make your house less cozy and increase your utility bills. You may even be able to use weatherstripping in place of caulk in some instances. If in doubt, make the rounds on a cold day and hold your hand near the edges of doors and windows to see if any drafts get through.
- Change the rotation of your ceiling fans. You probably already know that ceiling fans are designed to turn a different way, depending on the season. During the winter, they should turn clockwise, helping to disperse the warm air that otherwise rises to the ceiling. Fortunately, switching directions is as easy as a flip of a switch, usually located somewhere on the body of your ceiling fan.
- Hire a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney before you start the first fire in your fireplace this winter. A blocked chimney is a hazard, and a pro can make sure that everything is in ship shape before your house fills with smoke—or worse.
- Cover any outdoor pipes such as spouts for connecting water hoses or pipes that are part of an irrigation system. These are freeze hazards, and a simple cover that you can pick up at any hardware store will help protect your pipes from freezing and bursting in the cold.
- Flush the sediment from your water heater. Sediment buildup is one of the leading culprits in premature water heater failure, and flushing the tank is surprisingly simple. You can also help to conserve heat by insulating your water heater and pipes with DIY insulation.
- Insulate water pipes, especially if they run in a crawl space underneath your house. This is particularly good to do when prepping for a freeze, as burst pipes are one of the biggest household perils associated with freezing weather. It’s extra important to do this if you’re going to be away for any length of time.
- Speaking of insulation, check your attic. Make sure there aren’t any drafts up there and that the insulation is all in good shape.
- Install draft guards at doors that lead outside or to the garage. You can find these at most stores, or you can make your own. Try simply pushing a heavy cloth against the base of the door to keep cold air out.
- Inspect the roof and clean the gutters. If your gutters and downspouts are clogged with leaves, twigs, or other debris, water can become trapped on your roof, leading to damage if it freezes. While you’re up there, trim back any trees that are growing too close to your roof. You don’t want those branches coming down in an ice storm.
- Invest in a programmable thermostat. Not only will it help keep your home cozy warm (and some can even communicate with your smart phone, allowing you to turn up the heat before you even get home), programmable thermostats keep your energy bills down by learning your patterns and optimizing settings accordingly.
- Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order, which probably means changing the batteries if you haven’t done so already this season.
- While we’re on the subject of how to prepare your home for a freeze, you’ll also want to winterize any outdoor plants and landscaping. This means covering outdoor plants and bringing potted plants inside, sure, but it also means checking your sprinkler system, if you have one. If you can, your best bet is probably to drain and blow out your sprinklers before freezing weather arrives, and cover any of the nozzles. If you have garden hoses, unhook them and bring them inside over the winter.
- Cover or bring in unsecured patio furniture and other items that are in your backyard, while you’re at it. You’re probably not going to be using that grill again until spring, anyway. May as well cover it or move it into the garage or a storage shed. Same goes for your patio chairs and anything else that isn’t bolted down. Winter weather can be hard on them.
Most of the time, the weather is fairly consistent, and here in Richmond, TX, we tend to enjoy pretty mild weather, even during the winter months. But weather can also be unpredictable, so it’s always a good idea to keep this checklist of how to winterize your home handy, just in case Old Man Winter makes an unexpected visit.
Of course, there’s no better place to enjoy the weather in Richmond—winter, summer, spring, or fall—than at Candela. Our 460-acre master-planned community has been designed from the ground up to make sure that you can live your best and brightest life, combining small-town charm with easy access to big-city conveniences. Whether you’ve already joined our growing Candela family or just want to be among the first to know about new homes, new amenities, and upcoming events, sign up below to become a part of our mailing list today!