We got a taste of winter in the Fort Worth area this week, and some homeowners were not prepared for the first freeze of the season. However, there are several things you can do around the house to make sure you and your family stay warm and safe all winter.
We’ve put together a few easy tips to stay cozy, prevent damage, and save money this season.
Here are 6 easy tips to get your house ready for freezing weather:
1 Replace your air filter
Change your furnace filter at the start of the season as well as every two to four months. Filters get dirty much more quickly if your home is dusty or if you have furry or feathery pets. Clogged or dirty filters are less efficient, which means your home might not warm up the way it is intended to be.
2 Protect your piping
It’s helpful to keep your faucets dripping at each end of your house to prevent your pipes from freezing. Protect water pipes that run through unheated areas of your home with insulation, such as the attic, basement, or garage. Draining water from outdoor faucets and sprinkler systems will also keep your pipes from freezing and cracking. Cover all outdoor pipes and faucets with foam insulators, and be sure to disconnect and store outdoor hoses.
3 Inspect your indoor heating system
Go around the house and check that vents are open and that heat is coming through. Also be sure that there isn’t any large furniture blocking the ventilation. If there is, find a way to move your furniture out of the way, at least for the winter. This will help make sure that every room in your home is heating up to its max potential. You might also consider installing a programmable thermostat if you don’t have one. Programming it to be cooler at night and when you’re not at home will save you money, and you can program it to be warmer for when you return or get up on cold winter mornings.
4 Seal your doors and windows
Gaps around windows and doors can make it tough to keep your house warm in winter. Caulk around windows and install weather stripping around doors as needed. This minor and inexpensive task can help you save on heating costs. Another option is to add storm windows and doors. Be sure to contact a professional general contractor before you try to install them by yourself.
5 Check your fireplace
Clean out soot and other debris that could catch fire. Keep your home’s warm air from escaping out the chimney when you’re not using it by keeping the flue closed all the way. You shouldn’t be able to feel any cold air coming down the chimney. This can also be inspected by your roofing general contractor.
6 Inspect your roof / gutters
Clogged gutters and downspouts are the number one cause of ice dams. Ice dams form when heat escapes through the roof and melts ice that has settled there. Clean them out to keep water flowing during the winter. It is also recommended to seal places that allow warm air to leak from your home to your attic (i.e. around vent pipes, exhaust fans, chimneys, attic hatches, and light fixtures.) A professional roofing general contractor can inspect your roof and prevent your home from freezing.