- Kindred Homes
- October, 11, 2023
Bitterly Cold Temps Are Headed To Texas
The incoming wintery weather may bring some brutal conditions making it essential to prepare for this winter. Having a plan to protect your family better and help mitigate any unforeseen emergencies is vital. Here are our tips and thoughts on preparing your home and family for the cold days ahead.
Winterizing Your Home
Before the cold, replace worn weatherstripping on doors and windows to ensure a good seal. This will make sure warm air stays inside, and cold air stays outside. Make sure nothing is blocking the heating vents. Look for anything impeding airflow, such as furniture, pet beds, and curtains. Lastly, check your gutters to ensure they are clear and allow water to flow freely to the downspout. Blocked gutters can lead to water entering the home. The Texas Department of Insurance also recommends trimming trees away from power lines, homes, and cars and checking the insulation level in attics.
Protecting Your Pipes
Most North Texans know to insulate their outdoor faucets. Still, if the cold snap is prolonged, it could be a good idea to leave inside faucets on external walls dripping overnight, so they don't freeze. The drip, drip, drip from running faucets, if heard, can be annoying, so put a sponge or towel in the sink to silently catch each drop. If you're leaving town for a few days, the Texas Department of Public Safety recommends leaving cabinet doors open so that pipes on external walls are more exposed to heat. If you have pipes in an attic or crawlspace, are any other exposed pipes outdoors, they'll need insulation. Disconnect external faucet hoses and insulate the valves. Wrapping valves with towels is not the best long-term solution. Most Texas hardware stores sell inexpensive exterior faucet covers made of foam that easily attach to the hose bib in just a few seconds and do a great job protecting the pipe from freezing. If you suspect a pipe has frozen, keep the faucet open so water can flow when it melts. Additionally, ensure you know where your main water valve is located (and how to turn it off) if a pipe bursts.
Bring In Your Pets
Even if you have a pet or animal that typically lives or sleeps outdoors, they could be susceptible to cold, hypothermia, and pneumonia. The SPCA of Texas says if you're cold outside, odds are your pet is cold too. Bring pets inside and ensure other outdoor animals have appropriate dry and well-insulated shelter to protect them from frigid temperatures and possible death.
Turn Off Your Sprinkler System
Turn off your landscape irrigation system. To winterize your sprinkler system, the city of Fort Worth recommends that both timers and back-flow devices be turned off, even if you have freeze or rain sensors installed and the main line is drained. Any pipes that are above the ground should also be insulated.
Many air filters should be changed or cleaned every three months or every season. But that's not the only winterizing needed for your HVAC system. It would be best to check your ductwork regularly for holes (whether from vibration or rodents) to ensure the airflow is uninterrupted. If part of your HVAC is in the attic, it may also be home to rats, mice, and squirrels who find the unit's warmth an ideal spot to build a nest.
Here are other tips and suggestions to make life easier during frigid days.
- If you plan to use an indoor fireplace, check that your smoke detectors are in working order and install a battery-operated carbon monoxide detector. Keeping a fire extinguisher in the house in an emergency is also essential.
- Set your fans to spin clockwise. Believe it or not, the direction makes a difference. Adjusting your fan to rotate clockwise will push rising warm air downward. Switch it to clockwise if you want the room to be warmer, and then switch it to counterclockwise if you need to cool down again.
- Stay well-stocked on basic supplies. Wintery weather can bring snow, sleet, and ice, making navigating the roads tricky. Make sure you have items you may need on hand. Batteries, flashlights, nonperishable food items, and bottled water are all essential items to keep in stock.
- Equipment like lawnmowers and grills should be moved into storage. Cover or move your outdoor furniture to protect it from potential damage. You will also want to bring in or wrap potted plants and flowering trees before the first freeze.
From our family to yours, we wish everyone safety and warmth this winter season!