6 Must-Use Tips For Getting Your Home Cold-Weather Ready
Winter has arrived in west Texas and now is the time to make sure your home is cold weather ready. Frozen and burst pipes can cost your thousands of dollars to repair and replace, not to mention the water damage clean up, and drafty windows and doors can literally suck the heating bill right out of the house. But did you know, that for just a few dollars, you can take some big steps to get your home weather ready?
One of the easiest steps you can take is to change your furnace filter. This should be done monthly, but better late than never if you haven't changed yours in awhile. When buying a new filter, studies have shown that the cheapo filters work just as well as the special high-dollar, hepa-rated filters.
If you can remove the unit, that is always the best option. But if you can't, be sure the area is properly sealed to prevent drafts and make sure any excess water is drained from the unit.
One of the biggest causes of burst pipes involves a garden hose and outside spigot. Make sure you remove any hoses so ice doesn't back up and turn off the valves for any outside water source. Be sure to open the spigot once the valve has been closed to allow excess water to drain out.
The U.S. Department of Energy says drafts can waste 50-30% of your energy use. If you have a drafty door you can use a rolled up bath towel to put along the base acting like a draft snake. If the draft is coming from around the door, look at buying a cheap roll of adhesive weather stripping to help seal those entrances.
Now that you know how to fix up a drafty door, what about the windows. For only a couple bucks, you can purchase a window insulation kit. It is basically a plastic sheet for your window, but don't worry, most kits nowadays are designed to blend right in and not look like you just hung a tarp on your wall. If you have really old windows, you may want to consider replacing them down the road.
Insulating pipes is a cheap and easy way to save money on hot water costs and prevent a pipe from freezing. If your pipes are warm to the touch, you should consider insulating. You can get pre-cut insulation jackets at any hardware store and they simply slip around the pipe. Think of a pool noodle with a big slit in it.