Generally, Texas doesn’t get serious cold weather, but when we do, it’s usually a whopper of a storm. Being prepared for winter is easier than having to fix things when the weather is bad and thousands of other families are in need of the same help. A bit of prep work can go a long way to making sure your home is ready for cooler temps and the possibility of a storm or two. Here are three ways to get your home ready for a visit from Jack Frost.
Adding a programmable thermostat such as the Nest (nest.com) to your home can have many benefits other than lowering electric bills. These thermostats allow your home to be set at a consistent temperature without having to constantly adjust it according to the outside temperature – the Nest has full intelligent climate control. Because Texas often seems to have many seasons in one day, you won’t need to manually adjust the thermostat due to fluctuating temperatures during the day. If you’re away from home, you can monitor the temperatures at your home and can adjust it as needed via an application on your phone or via computer.
Keep the Heat In and the Cold Out
Make sure that your home is well insulated to help retain heat inside during the colder times. Doing this will help lower your electricity costs overall. Insulating your pipes is essential as well. Pipes that are near outer walls can freeze easily in low temperatures, so insulating them can help divert disaster when the weather turns bad. Plumbers also recommend keeping both hot and cold faucets dripping when outside temperatures are at or below 32 degrees to prevent pipes from freezing. Additionally, keeping cabinet doors open near sinks or appliances can help keep the pipes warm.
Check your windows for air leaks. If you don’t have double paned windows, consider using a window sheet kit to help keep out drafts. These kits are easily installed using a hair dryer and special non-marring tape that won’t strip paint off your window frames. Using curtains can help stop drafts and add a layer of insulation to your windows as well. Weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors can also stop cold air from seeping in.
If you have a fireplace, make sure it is ready to go before you need it. The chimney should be inspected and clear of debris. If it is a wood burning fireplace, you’ll want to have enough firewood on hand to keep you warm for a few days.
Be Storm Ready
These preparations are not only for the home, but for your family as well; you’ll certainly want them on hand during bad weather. Make sure you have access to a shovel, ice melt, a battery-operated radio (preferably a weather radio), flashlights, blankets and food. Remember, while the power might be out, you’ll need food that doesn’t require heating, so think things such as protein bars, water, dried fruit or jerky. If you are like the majority of Americans, you’ll also need to make sure your pets have food and water. Some pets, like reptiles, require heat sources, so be sure to remember them while making an emergency plan.
While the weather in Texas can be quite unpredictable, it’s important to be prepared as much as possible. When it comes to weather events, an ounce of prevention could prove to be the difference in getting through the winter safely and comfortably.