Winter Home Care: Be Prepared!

Are you ready for Winter?  We’ve already seen some temperature drops, but we haven’t seen the worst of it yet.  This is Texas, so you never really know how harsh the Winter is going to be, but better to safe than sorry. 

Here are 15 helpful tips to help prepare you for cold weather:

  1. Make Sure Your Heating System is Ready
    • Depending on the type of heating system you have, there are a few home maintenance things you should do before the temperatures really start to dip. If you have a high-efficiency system, PVC vent pipes need to be cleared of any obstructions.
  2. Protect the Air Conditioner
    • Even though the condensing unit is built for outdoor elements, it can still be damaged by falling icicles and other debris. You don’t need to invest in a waterproof cover (in fact many manufacturers recommend against it, because it creates a warm space for critters). Just place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC should be ready to work again in the spring.
  3. Clean your Furnace Filter
    • This is the most common cause of heating (and cooling) troubles. Change the filter and the problem usually disappears.
  4. Check for Air Leaks
    • Check for air leaks around windows and doors, including cracks in caulking or weatherstripping. Also, replace caulk and weatherstripping if necessary.
  5. Let the Sun Shine
    • During sunny days, open the curtains and let some sunlight in. The rays will help warm you up even on the coldest days
  6. Close the Curtains
    • If you open the curtains to let the sun shine in during the day, close those curtains at night. This will help you trap the heat inside your home.
  7. Use Rugs
    • Rugs not only work to style a room, but they also do a good job of keeping your feet toasty if you have tile or hardwood flooring.
  8. Prepare for a Storm
    • Power outages are common during winter storms, so make sure you’re prepared with a survival kit. Your winter home maintenance checklist should include stocking up on bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, first-aid supplies, batteries and a smart phone charger.
  9. Stock Up on Salt, Sand
    • Purchase some salt, ice melt or sand before the first snowfall. And this will give you some extra traction when it’s time to shovel the sidewalk and driveway.
  10. Consider a Generator
    • If you live in an area that is prone to power outages, perhaps it’s time to consider a generator. A generator will help you keep some lights on, along with the heat, during prolonged winter power outages.
  11. Are the Dampers Open?
    • Some ductwork contains dampers to adjust airflow. Look for handles and markings on the ductwork such as ‘summer’ and ‘winter.’ Set the damper handle parallel to the duct line for maximum airflow.
  12. Reverse Ceiling Fans
    • If you have ceiling fans, reverse the motion so they are moving clockwise. This will help move warm air downward where it’s needed to keep you warm.
  13. Prevent Pipes from Freezing
    • When water freezes, it expands and can cause your pipes to burst. To prevent frozen pipes, insulate pipes near windows, doors and in areas of the home that are unheated. Disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet.
  14. Check Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
    • According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is the cause of 27 percent of structure fires during the winter months. So make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home.
  15. Try a Terra Cotta Heater
    • Make a terra cotta heater. Just place a terra cotta flower pot upside-down over candles. You’ll need to prop the pot up a little with a couple small rocks or something similar so air can get underneath. Keep the heater out of the reach of children and pets and never leave candles unattended.

Some of these tips are easy to do yourself, but some are best handled by a professional. Call your friendly True Blue Air Service technician and schedule a routine check up.

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