Winter is coming and it is time to prepare your home. Avoid spending your extra time on repairs or handling a disaster with a few Winter home care preventative measures.
Outdoor furniture may not be utilized as much during colder weather but if you are not able to bring it all inside, make sure it is covered. You can purchase furniture covers or use large plastic bags. For metal furniture apply petroleum jelly to areas that are prone to rust. This can also be used on the threads of outdoor light bulbs.
For icy driveways, porch steps, or sidewalks use cat litter instead of rock salt. It provides safe traction for walking and driving without harming the grass, staining your clothes, or hurting the environment. Trim trees and remove dead branches to prevent any damage or injury if they fall from ice or wind. Clean out gutters to ensure that they can drain properly. Water can back up and cause leaks and ice dams that can damage your roof. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
If your home has a fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned. Buildup of creosote inside a chimney can lead to house fires so regular cleaning is a good safety measure. If your fireplace is gas lit, have it checked for any debris blocking the chimney.
Water expands as it freezes so you want to ensure that your pipes are well insulated. When frozen pipes burst, they can cause extensive water damage and lead to costly repairs. Check pipes by windows and doors and other unheated areas of the home. Disconnect the house outside and leave faucets dripping slightly at night when temperatures hit freezing or below. When you are away from the house, keep the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees.
Check the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. These should be checked monthly but it is especially important in the winter when windows and doors are kept tightly shut. Check your storm or emergency supplies. Texas is known to have ice storms that can shut down towns. Do not be left cooped up in your house without fresh water, non-perishable foods, flashlights, smartphone chargers, and first aid supplies.