Winter is often a busy time of year, packed with a number of holidays and events in addition to ongoing work, school, and activities. Before it gets too late in the year, take a few hours to winterize your Texas home to defend it against the lower temperatures and harsh weather ushered in during the season.
Winterizing your home makes it more energy efficient, so you can keep your family warm and comfortable without paying exorbitant energy bills, in addition to preventing damage to your home from ice and snow. Typically, you want to get your house ready for winter before temperatures dip below 45 degrees Fahrenheit.
How Do I Get My House Ready For Winter?
Although most areas in Texas, including the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan area and its beautiful suburbs, experience milder winter temperatures than those in the northern states, temperatures can still drop to the 30s and even 20s on occasion. In addition to being chillier during the winter months, the region also experiences more wind and rain, although snow is very rare.
Even if you are expecting a milder winter, it’s still important to winterize your house in Frisco in case of freezing temperatures and inclement weather. Here are a couple items to put on your list as prepare your house and surrounding property for the season:
1. Weatherproof Your House
Between window and door frames, electrical outlets, and recessed lighting, your home may contain more leaks than you realize. To block the leaks and make your house more energy efficient, consider installing storm doors and windows and replacing worn out weather-stripping to prevent heat from leaking out of your home or cold air from seeping inside. You can also install foam outlet protectors, buy door sweeps to block spaces under exterior doors, and caulk around windows or other drafty spots to prevent cold air from coming in. On the outside, you should use weather-resistant caulk or masonry sealer to take care of cracks and leaks. Taken together, these small steps can deter your energy bills from spiking too severely.
2. Inspect Your Attic
Heat loss primarily occurs because of poor insulation or openings in your attic. Some experts recommend you have at least 12 inches of insulation in your attic. As a rule of thumb, if you can see your ceiling joists through the insulation, you don’t have enough. Before winter gets too far underway, check to make sure your attic isn’t suffering a lack of insulation. Even though it can cost money upfront to purchase and install extra insulation, it’s likely worth the utilities savings in the long run.
3. Protect Your Plants
Before temperatures reach the mid-40s, bring your flowering plants and trees inside if you can. For your garden or outdoor landscaping, pull all the weeds and add another layer of mulch to protect the soil through the winter months. You can dig up bulbs of flowers such as gladiolus and dahlias and store them in a dark, dry place. Limit your fertilization in the winter, but make sure to continue watering plants and trees.
4. Check Your Fireplace and Furnace
Even though Texas experiences milder temperatures this time of year, there is something quintessentially “winter” about enjoying a long evening in front of a warm blaze. Before you light the first fire of the season, though, inspect your fireplace and chimney or have a professional inspection done to ensure the structure is clean and there are no hidden animal nests. Now is also a good time to check your furnace to make sure it’s working properly. When you first turn on your furnace after a long hiatus, it’s natural to experience a strong, temporary smell. If the smell persists, however, you may need to have a professional check out the furnace. Make sure to replace the furnace filters regularly throughout the winter if you use are using it frequently.
5. Program Your Thermostat
If you have a programmable thermostat, make sure you’ve customized the settings so your heating system isn’t running when you don’t need it or when you’re not at home. With a programmable thermostat, you can choose different settings for different times of day and even control the system while you’re away. If you have a traditional thermostat, you may consider switching it out for a programmable version.
6. Store Your Outdoor Equipment
The season of barbecues and mowing your lawn is past. Clean your grills, outdoor power equipment, and any delicate outdoor furniture and store them away in a garage or basement. Remember to close the tank valve and disconnect the tank on your gas grill before removing it. If you’re lacking storage space at your Frisco home, you can purchase weather-proof covers to put over outdoor furniture and supplies.
7. Clean Your Gutters
Check your home’s gutters and clean out any fallen leaves and debris so rain – and potentially melting snow – can drain efficiently. While you’re cleaning and rinsing down your gutters, check for leaks and misaligned pipes, and confirm that the downspouts are carrying water away from the home’s foundation. No matter what Frisco community you live in, you don't want to have to deal with costly water damage.
8. Check Your Duct work
If duct work is not well-connected and insulated, the U.S. Department of Energy estimates a home with central heating may lose as much as 60% of its heated air before it even reaches the vents. Fix up gaps with a metal-backed tape and repair any spots where the pipes are pinched, thus impeding the flow of heated air throughout your house. It’s also good to remember that ducts should be vacuumed once every couple years to remove the buildup of dust, animal hair, and other debris.
9. Insulate Pipes
As freezing nights are not as common during the winter in Texas, you don’t have to be as concerned about bursting pipes as homeowners in other regions. However, you may still want to insulate or wrap the pipes that pass through unheated spaces. You can use a pre-molded foam rubber sleeve or fiberglass insulation. Another way to winterize pipes is to expose them to the heat inside your home by opening cabinet doors. This prevents them freezing up during an uncommonly cold night. You can also cover outside faucets and pipes with anything as simple as an old sock or towel with duct tape to professional insulating material.
10. Reverse Your Fans
A less common winterizing trick is to reverse your ceiling fan to so it will push warm air downward and cause it to recirculate, helping you make the most of your heating system. The way to know your fan is in reverse mode is if the blades are turning clockwise.
Winter Living in Texas
With the abundance of sunny and clear winter days in Texas, it is a wonderful season to experience life in Frisco, TX. Before you get too caught up in planning for the holidays, going on weekend trips to explore the surrounding Texas region, or undertaking a new winter hobby, check to make sure your new Majestic Gardens home is prepared to withstand the upcoming season and suffer minimal damage while keeping you warm and comfortable.
You may also be interested in The Importance of Building an Energy Efficient Home in Texas
“Frisco Weather.” Lifestyle Frisco. Accessed online at https://lifestylefrisco.com/frisco-weather/