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How to Get Your Home Ready for Winter

Categories: Uncategorized | Posted: December 18, 2018

In Texas, we’re fortunate to have milder winters than many areas of the country, but we’re not totally immune to cold snaps and freezing temperatures, sometimes when we least expect it. Your Graham Hart home is built with energy-saving features throughout, but you can help maximize your comfort, minimize utility bills and avoid potential maintenance issues by following some easy steps to get your home ready for winter.

Outside:

Take advantage of mild days and make sure your gutters are cleaned out. Detach garden hoses and store them in the garage over the winter. Insulated outdoor faucet covers, sold at hardware stores and typically made of hard plastic or styrofoam, are an easy, inexpensive way to protect your hose bibs from freezing.

Adjust the watering schedule on your automatic sprinkler system, but don’t totally ignore your lawn over the winter. If it’s been several weeks since we’ve had rain, give your yard a good soaking, preferably during the morning. Even in winter, grass still needs one to two inches of water a week.

Everyone is eager to stay warm during the winter, and that includes critters. Walk around the outside of your home, paying attention to your soffits (the underside of the roof overhang that connects to the exterior wall) and any other potential entry point for rodents or insects. Seal off any holes, as even the tiniest hole could invite intruders. Check for drafts around doors, and repair or replace weather stripping as needed.

Inside:

Continue to change your HVAC air filters on a regular basis, as this is one of the easiest ways to make sure your heating and cooling system is working at top efficiency.

If you’ve owned your Graham Hart home for more than a year, it’s a good idea to have your furnace professionally inspected before you turn on the heat for the winter.

Adjust your thermostat, and layer on blankets and throws to stay comfortable. If no one is home during the day, set the temperature to 62-66 degrees, then increase it to 68-72 when the home is occupied again. Lower it to 62-66 when everyone is sleeping. If your home is a two-story with zoned HVAC, take advantage of the fact that heat rises. Set the upstairs thermostat two degrees lower than the downstairs unit. A programmable thermostat can bring your home to a cozier temperature before you get home in the evening or wake up in the morning. You also can ease into this by adjusting it a degree at a time over a period of several days. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, a one-degree thermostat reduction maintained for eight hours can reduce a home’s energy bill by one percent.    

If you celebrate the holidays with a live Christmas tree, water the tree every day, keeping the water reservoir filled at all times. Remove the tree from your home after Christmas or when it becomes dry. Keep the tree at least three feet away after from any heat source, and unplug lights before going to bed or leaving your home.

With these tips, you’ll be able to handle whatever winter throws your way, and remember, spring is just around the corner!

Doug Skomer

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