A cold front has hit the country and the winter storm is bringing some serious cold weather, unexpected ice and snow fall in places that hardly ever see weather like this. Residences in many areas of Texas woke up to a winter wonderland this week without power and many without heat. Not being prepared for winter weather can put you in a difficult situation.
Below is a list of winter home maintenance tips that will help you avoid costly damages and help you be prepared for the colder weather ahead.
- Seal doors and windows for leaks – Leaky windows and doors can significantly raise your heating bill quickly. Check the exterior trim for any gaps between it and the door frame. Caulk any gaps with exterior latex caulk.
- Clean out your gutters – Well maintained gutters can reduce the need to replace them and the chance of roof damage. Firmly set your ladder against the side of the house. Preferably have someone hold onto it and make sure it is on even ground. Scoop out the dirt with a small shovel and dump it into a bin bag or onto tarp. Flush out the gutters with a hose for a full clean.
- Weatherproof exterior pipes – Freezing temperatures can cause serious problems for your external pipes. Frozen pipes can crack, and once they thaw they can release hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. Check all of your pipes for signs of weakness, moisture on faucets and connectors that point to wear and tear. If there is moisture, replace these parts immediately.
- Avoid ice dams – In freezing conditions, ice dams can form at the edge of your roof. They prevent melting snow from draining properly. The water can leak into your roof and cause damage to ceilings, insulation, and walls. To prevent ice dams from forming, keep the entire roof at the same temperature. To do this, increase ventilation and add insulation. Make sure to seal off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.
- Clean your dryer vents – Dryers can be a fire hazard and are responsible for over 15,000 fires a year. Take a flathead screwdriver and loosen the clamps. This will allow you to pull the vent away from the wall and the dryer. Next, hold the vent upright and use a dryer vent duct brush to brush down the piping.