Cold Drafts

First Frost: When Cold Weather Hits the South

Staff Home Tips, HVAC, Plumbing

Winter in Texas may not look like winter in Michigan, Montana, or Maine, but it can still hit residents hard. As the cold months pass, it’s important to prepare your home for the temperature drops. Not only will winterizing your home make your family more comfortable through the season, but it will also conserve valuable energy and this efficiency will also help lower your monthly energy bill.

To simultaneously reduce your carbon footprint and save money on your Heating bills, consider the following tips for winterizing your home.

Check Your Pipes

Because wintery weather happens so infrequently here, many Houston area residents tend to become passive about winter. Because the season is comparatively mild in our region, many property owners make the mistake of failing to prepare – which can cause pipes to freeze, which in turn can cause them to burst.

Make sure you know the locations of your home’s pipelines, and pay special attention to any exposed outdoor pipes. Check your entire system for leaks and other major pipeline problems, and if you find anything, address it quickly.

Additionally, make sure all outdoor pipes and faucets are clear and drained of any residual moisture. Any water you don’t drain runs the risk of freezing, which can also lead to a burst pipe.  If your home has a sprinkler system, turn off and drain the water from your sprinkler system as well.

Outdoor and exposed pipes can be insulated with affordable materials from your hardware store, like foam or rubber wraps. However, if you run into an issue that will require a major repair or equipment replacement, the experts at Esurance recommend calling in professional reinforcements for help.

Change Furnace Filters

Furnace problems aren’t just inconvenient; they can also be dangerous. Last winter we explained that failing to change your furnace air filters can contribute to high heating bills. When the filters are doing their job, they catch dust and debris from the furnace, keeping these impurities from being dispersed.

However, a buildup of too much debris will require your furnace to work harder than ever to produce heat. Filter buildup also has the effect of sending all the accumulated debris back into the furnace system, which inevitably results in furnace failure.

Inspect Your Insulation

Poor insulation will do more than make your teeth chatter – it will also rack up your energy bills in the blink of an eye. According to Travelers Insurance, one simple way to improve your outlook is to make note of any gaps around your doors and windows. Use weather stripping and caulk to help keep heat in and icy chills out. Another effective sealant is expanding foam, which can also be purchased at the hardware store.

If you notice rot, decay, or any particularly drafty windows, call a for professional help. While it can be tempting to cover the glazing with simple shrink film, it’s best to be on the safe side; your situation may require more intensive repairs.

Finally, if you’re serious about bringing your energy bill down, consider possible solutions like updating your windows to be more energy efficient, installing new attic insulation, or buying heat retaining curtains.

Clear the Leaves from Your Gutters

If a snow or ice storm hits and your drains and gutters are clogged with leaf debris, the subsequent melt won’t drain properly. This weighs on your system and can cause breakage, leaving you with a hefty bill to pay. Poor drainage can also lead to structural problems in your home. If excess water isn’t directed properly away from your foundation and walls, you could be left contending with mold and structural rot.

At Equifax, the insurance professionals advocate clearing leaves and other debris from your gutters and outdoor drains. With trees shedding their leaves left and right, you’ll have more buildup than usual during the fall, so be extra conscientious. After your drains and gutters are cleared, test their efficiency by running water through the system – there’s no faster way to pinpoint leaks and other areas that need maintenance.

Check for Roof Damage

Assessing your roof for wear and tear or weather damage is definitely one task you shouldn’t DIY, especially if you’re concerned about qualifying for homeowner’s insurance to cover repairs. Fortunately, a roof inspection is on the more affordable end of home maintenance costs.

Most importantly, any preventative measure you take now will inevitably save you major grief in the future. You’ll protect your home from drafts, water damage, mold, and other potential problems. Reinforcing your roof ahead of time will likely also prevent hefty repair expenses in case of inclement weather, such as a winter ice storm.

Stock Up on Supplies

In the northern U.S., residents are accustomed to dealing with ice, sleet, and snow on a regular basis – and they (unfairly) laugh at their Southern counterparts for supposed unpreparedness. Winter is unpredictable, but just a few key supplies can go a long way. Make sure you have an ice melting compound like rock salt or cat litter to make sure your driveway and front steps are navigable. Additionally, keep an ice scraper on hand in case you need to clear your car windshield in a hurry.

Rely On Experts to Help You Get Ready

While some of these preparations are as simple as a trip to the hardware store, any major fixes or upgrades will require professional help. John Moore is proud to provide Houston-area homes with comprehensive plumbing, heating, electrical, and drain cleaning services, among other home maintenance needs. Whatever the problem, John Moore Services has a solution.

At John Moore Services, we want to make sure every property owner can afford to pay for necessary home repairs – no matter what their financial situation. For this reason, we’re proud to offer flexible financing solutions to meet all of our customers’ needs. For more information about how we can help you, including questions about financing, give us a call today at (877) 730-2525. You can also use our online request form if you have any questions or want to schedule a service.