When winter comes, it’s best to be prepared for it. The tricky part, of course, is knowing just how to prepare for it! Plus, the fact that many areas in Texas don’t see the kind of winter that most other areas do. Here are some focused tips and suggestions on how to do it so that you’ve never left in the lurch last minute. Or, worse, after-the-fact!
Staying in Texas
If you’re looking to stay in your home in Texas for the winter season, you’ll want to dedicate a bit of time to prepping for it properly. Because while we don’t see the typical winter that folks up North encounter, we surely can’t predict the winter or control it. And as we have learned from the ice storm we had just recently, we need to be better prepared. Consider having extra food, water and medical supplies and anything you may need should you lose power or if water is no longer safe enough from the tap to drink and use for consumption.
Are you ready?
First, winter brings the potential for power loss (which we saw here in Texas during the Feb 2021 ice storm). You’ll want to make sure that you are prepared for that with a properly packed bug-out bag. This includes flashlights, extra batteries, medications, clothing, etc. This should be kept in an easy-to-reach spot for all family members, too. Be sure you leave timely so that you are traveling on roads that are safe, as you surely don’t want to get stuck out in the freezing cold.
Don’t forget about your pipes! Most Texas homeowners don’t insulate pipes, because we usually don’t have to, leaving them vulnerable to freezing during a cold snap. You’ll want to do what you can to protect them as much as possible. For example, protect your bathroom/kitchen pipes by opening your cabinet doors and setting up a space heater to help keep them warm.
It’s also a good idea to bump up the heat in your home a bit, too, just to “preheat” your pipes in general!
Get your home set
Next on the list is to prepare your home itself. This includes checking your windows and doors to make sure that you’ve got all cracks and gaps properly filled with sealants and foam, as needed. Or heck, add an extra layer by putting towels at the doors to help keep the cold out and the heat in. Consider replacing your weather stripping, too, if it’s cracked or peeling off of your frames. If you have old insulation, you might want to consider replacing it with newer options that come with a better or higher R-value, too.
Don’t forget the outside!
Your roof should be prepped for the winter, too. Take time to have it inspected each year and watch for signs of wear and tear, such as flashing coming loose, or clogged gutters, and loose or missing shingles. All of those should be addressed to help protect your home’s integrity before the weather sets in.
Leaving Texas for the winter or just during a storm
If you are looking at leaving Texas for the winter or just when the going gets rough, you’re going to want to winterize your home to best protect it in the event of a winter snap. This means a lot of the same steps as above with roof inspections and checking for gaps in your windows and doors.
It also means, just to be sure you don’t have an expensive burst pipe or serious water leak, you’ll want to consider draining your pipes and then turning the water off via the main shut-off for the house. This can’t stop the pipes from freezing but can deter the damage until you come home when you can see if it is happening versus coming home to flooded home and running water.
Check insurance coverage
Regardless of whether you’re staying or leaving Texas for the winter, you’re going to want to take a bit of time to also go over your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what you’re covered for and what you’re not covered for. This can help ease your mind and also spot any potential gaps that can be covered by adjusting your homeowners policy!
Winter and Texas don’t often go in the same sentence, but when they do, you don’t want to be caught unaware! Contact Paula Smith Insurance at (281) 488-8880 to review your homeowners insurance or just a good review to be sure you, your home, your pets, your family and your assets are properly covered.