Winter is beckoning, and as we know, Texas winters can bring weather of all kinds. Prepare for the best and the worst that Mother Nature can bring as you ready your home for the colder season.
Patten Title has compiled a checklist of things you can do to winterize your home and be ready for chillier weather.
Service Your Furnace.
A good furnace lasts anywhere from 10 to 20 years and is an item you don’t want to have to replace after the weather gets cold. Make sure you have replaced the filter and that the heater is still in good shape. If you have any questions, schedule an appointment with your HVAC provider.
Check the Windows and Doors.
Windows and doors that aren’t appropriately sealed will drive up your heating bill. Use tissue paper to alert you of any air leaks, then contact a professional if any sealing needs to be done.
Sweep the Chimney.
Call a chimney sweep for a safety inspection of your fireplace.
Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors.
Ensure the batteries are working and run tests on your home smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms.
Flush the Water Heater.
Dirt and sediment can build up over time, so clean out your water heater before the bad weather hits.
Set the Thermostat for the Winter.
Reverse your vents and circular fans to change your air circulation from air conditioning to heating mode.
Clean Your Gutters.
Leaves and debris that fill up gutters can interfere with drainage and cause water to leak into unwanted places. If you don’t want to climb the ladder yourself, have a pro clear them out.
Inspect Your Roof.
A new roof can last 15-30 years, depending on the material of your shingles. However, shingles sometimes wear out individually and can start to cause leaks. Check your roof for missing or fractured shingles and have them fixed.
Cover Exterior Faucets.
Use insulated slip-on covers to protect your outside faucets. These can prevent residual water inside the faucet from freezing.
Check Outdoor Lighting and Replace Bulbs.
Before you hang your holiday decorations, check your flood lights and other exterior house lights. Finding and fixing burned bulbs is easier in warmer months than in the cold.
Buy Ice or Sand Melt.
In case of ice, snow, or a mixture of both, it’s best to have bags of ice melt on hand for your driveway or sidewalk.
Split and Stack Firewood.
Stock up on your firewood supply to stay cozy on cold winter days.
Organize Your Tools and Equipment.
Put the tools back in place for the winter and clear space in your garage for your vehicles. Here are some organizational tips for your tools.
Sweep the Garage.
Make the floor sparkle before the freezing weather arrives. Remove cardboard boxes from the floor to avoid getting them wet as rain, snow, or ice comes off your tires.
The best time for lawn mower maintenance is in the winter when you don’t need it. If you have a snow blower, turn it on to ensure it works. For gas snow blowers, ensure you have the appropriate gas-to-oil mixture ready and on hand.
Declutter Your Space.
Now is the time to eliminate stuff you don’t use, like worn extension cords and broken or unusable tools.
Check Your Garage Door.
Ensure the garage door is in good shape, the belts are functioning smoothly, and the batteries work in your door opener.
Wash the Windows.
Garage windows can get dirty from the winds of summer and fall. Now is a good time for dirt and leaf removal. Also, ensure that they are sealed properly to avoid any debris entering.
DECKS AND PORCHES
Clean and Cover Patio Furniture.
Clean your outdoor furniture, then put it in storage or cover it. Wooden patio furniture isn’t built for cold, wet weather. Glass, aluminum, plastic, or synthetic fibers can be covered and secured.
Clean and Store Outdoor Cushions.
Winter is the best time to wash outdoor cushions and covers before storing them in a warm, dry location for the season.
Clean and Cover the Grill.
Even if you like to grill in all temperatures, give your grill a deep clean and invest in a secure cover. Bad weather can cause rust if a metal grill isn’t appropriately protected.
Empty the Planters.
If your summer flowers and plants have seen their last bit of sun, get rid of the dirt or any accumulated leaves and weeds in the planters. Be sure to secure your empty planters either inside a shed or garage or somewhere safe along the side of the house.
Repair Deck Boards.
Deck maintenance is best done in the fall. Fix worn-out and cracked wooden boards, and check for any nails that might need replacement.
Clean the Ceiling Fans.
On a screened-in deck, make sure the ceiling fans are working correctly and clean them for the cold weather.
Rake the Leaves.
Check your local refuse schedule for leaf pickup, then rake your leaves and clean them from the ends of downspouts, gutters, and any road drains near your home.
Pull Summer Bulbs and Other Annual Plants.
Get rid of the summer and fall bulbs to let the soil rest. Your perennials will hibernate in the winter weather and can stay put.
Cut Down Trees and Limbs.
Winter snow and ice can be heavy enough to bring down dead trees and limbs on lawns, cars, and houses. Now is an excellent time to evaluate the health of your trees, but leave tree and limb removal to a professional.
To avoid frozen water from cracking your rubber hoses, drain and store them until spring.
Clean the Firepit.
Give your outdoor fire pit a good scrubbing to prepare it for the first fire in the warmer months.
Spruce up the yard before the cold weather hits. That means removing excess weeds and mowing one last time before the grass stops growing.