Cooler winter weather is already upon us and it’s just about time to get out the long johns and Christmas decorations. Before it gets too cold outside, take advantage of the milder temperatures to perform a few winterization tasks to reduce energy costs – and keep your indoor climate cozy.
Part 1 of this series ‘How to winterize your home’ covered heating systems while part 2 included tips to cut drafty window and door leaks. In part 3, we’ll cover maintenance tips for the exterior and landscaping.
Winterizing your home’s exterior
In addition to checking for leaking air from doors and windows, now is also a great time to look for other areas where warm air can escape — and cold air can penetrate. A visual inspection of your home’s perimeter should include the following:
- Vents– Check for gaps and holes in exterior vents including dryer vents, air conditioning units and exhaust vents for cooking ranges. Plug any holes or gaps with insulating spray foam.
- Drainage– Check to make sure you don’t have water pooling around your foundation. If temperatures drop below freezing, standing water will freeze and expand which can cause cracks in foundations and pipes. If you find a low spot that tends to hold water, fill it in with some soil and pack tightly.
- Gutters– During the summer and fall months, gutters tend to fill up with falling leaves, nests and other sediments which can prevent water from flowing freely. Blocked gutters can lead to ice dams during cold weather temperatures which can result in expensive water damage to walls, ceilings, and insulation. Read more on tips for cleaning gutters.
- Chimney– Before you start building those warm cozy fires this winter, make sure your fireplace and chimney are ready. We covered fireplace cleaning and repair in Part 1 of the series, but a visual inspection of the outside chimney may also reveal damage. Double check the masonry of the chimney for missing brick or tile and examine the flashing between the chimney and roof tiles to ensure it is properly attached and sealed.
- Roof– While you are checking the chimney, inspect the roof for missing or loose shingles, and clear away branches and other debris that may have piled up during previous months.
Winterizing pool systems
In Frisco and Dallas area, we have milder winters than our friends in the North. This means we typically don’t experience extreme weather that lasts for more than a few days at a time and we aren’t forced to drain our pools and add antifreeze. However, there are a few pool winterization maintenance tips to protect our pool equipment including;
- Check freeze protection unit to ensure it is clean and operating properly
- Thoroughly clean pumps, filters, and grids
- Check heater and chlorinator
- Set filtration timers to run at night when the temperatures are the coldest – this saves electricity and helps prevent damage from frozen equipment
Winterizing sprinkler systems & pipes
Outdoor faucets are notorious for freezing when extreme weather hits. Follow these quick steps to prevent burst pipes and water damage:
- Shut off sprinkler systems for winter – unless you have a winter grass such as rye, most lawns are dormant in the winter months and don’t need regular watering. Shut off your regular timer and use the manual mode when needed to keep your foundation moist.
- Disconnect, drain and store garden hoses.
- Cover faucets with wraps from Home Depot or Lowes.
- Wrap outdoor pipes that are exposed and fill surrounding holes or cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking.
Winterizing your yard and landscaping
While many Texas lawns are dormant in colder months, your expensive landscaping may need some TLC to help protect it during extreme cold weather conditions. Here are a few tips to help protect your home and landscape investments:
- Trim long or heavy tree branches and shrubs to prevent frozen limbs from breaking off and causing damage to your roof, yard, and nearby cars
- Bring all container-grown and tropical plants indoors or move to covered patio areas during freezing weather
- Cover bedded plants with burlap or landscape blankets when temps dip to below 32 degrees
- Winterize your lawn with a fertilizer that is appropriate for your type of grass to help protect it from harsh conditions and get it ready for spring growing season
- Remove cushions and cover outdoor furniture to prevent damage from freezing temperatures and damaging winds
Ah, now it’s time to sit by the fire and enjoy the cozy warmth without worrying about blowing your budget on wasted energy. Want help finding a dependable contractor to help with your winterization, or have other questions on buying or selling a home? Give us a call at 469-634-0932—we’re here to help!
About the Judi Wright Team
Judi Wright/The Judi Wright Team is a real estate group specializing in the suburbs of Frisco, Plano, and surrounding areas. Named the “Best Realtor in Dallas,” by D Magazine twelve times and a Five Star Realtor with Texas Monthly. Judi is also a Company-Wide Top performer with Ebby Halliday and the #2 Top Group for Ebby Halliday Frisco.