Have you just made a long distance move to Dallas? You must be proud of your brand new digs, and yearn to protect your humble abode at all costs. If so, then you’re going to want to familiarize yourself with the term “winterizing.” With the winter season comes the crisp chill of cold weather and unexpected weather elements like snow and ice storms. “Winterizing” is making sure that your home stays strong and energy efficient through the hectic storm schedule. Read on to find out about some tidbits to protect your home for the upcoming winter season.

Lower Your Thermostat

It can be hard to remember to lower your thermostat when you’re used to living in a cozy, warm oasis. Lowering the thermostat just a couple of degrees can save you a good chunk of change in the long run. For every degree that you lower the thermostat, you can save anywhere from 1 to 3 percent of your heating bill. This can become a ton of money in the long run, because most households spend anywhere from 50 to 70 percent of their energy bill on heating and cooling. If you think you might forget, you might want to invest in a programmable thermostat. That way, you can always be in control of your energy even if you’re far away from home.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fan

You may not be aware of this, but you can use your trusty ceiling fan for heating your home as well. Most ceiling fans have an option to turn your fans counterclockwise instead of clockwise, the normal motion. This ends up pushing the warm air down and circulating it throughout the room. This can cut your heating costs by as much as 10 percent.

Block Air Leaks

Air leaks are pesky areas around your doors and windows that are letting in the cool air from outside. This is forcing you to use way more heat than you’d like to and spend way more money on your heating bill. For example, under a door is a very common place to have an air leak. A simple solution to those air leaks is to fill them up with a rolled up towel. If you’re dealing with air leaks near windows, then utilizing some weather-resistant chalk and applying it from the outside will work incredibly well.

Lower Your Water Heater Temperature

Have you ever got accidentally scalded from your shower? This might be because your water heater is set to a temperature that’s too high. Most heaters are set to 140 degrees, even though the Consumer Product Safety Commission suggests that the temperature should be 120. If you lower your water heater temperature to 120, then you’ll end up saving some money on your energy bill as well and probably won’t scald yourself from a hot shower anymore! It’s definitely a win-win.

Get Your Chimney Inspected

You should get your chimney inspected at least once a year, and the winter season is the best time to have it done. Whether you’re roasting chestnuts on the open fire or toasting up some s’mores, you’re going to want to make sure that your chimney is clear and clean. There are also 25,000 chimney fires that happen every year across the nation. Getting your chimney inspected prevents this from happening and helps you understand what to do to prevent it in the future.

Clean Your Gutters

Cleaning your gutters should be a priority throughout the year, but you should especially plan to handle the task before the winter season. This is to prevent ice dams, which is a ridge of ice that forms at the edge of the roof and prevents melting snow from draining off of the roof. This can lead to water damage throughout the home. Clean your gutters so everything that lands on your home has a way of falling off.

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Check Your Insulation

Your insulation is your home’s first defense against the cold. Insulation deteriorates over time, so be sure to check it periodically. If you’re steering away from the recommended 12 inches of insulation, add another layer so you’ll be able to protect your home from the upcoming freeze.

Wrap Your Pipes

Insulating your pipes lowers heat loss and maintains the temperature of your hot water. Also, you won’t have to wait as long for the hot water to come up in the shower. This saves you both money and time, which are both equally as important. This also decreases the chance of your pipes freezing, which can be an emergency situation when you’re dealing with the unrelenting cold of winter. Get some pre-slit pipe foams from your local home improvement store, and you’ll have what you need to get the job done right.

Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors

During the winter, fires and carbon monoxide leaks have a good chance of happening. This is because many families are using their heaters a ton during the cold season. Be sure to remind yourself to check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors around your home. If they need batteries, replace them accordingly.

Protect Your A/C

Since you’re probably not going to be using your A/C during the winter months, it’s very important to protect it. Winterizing it elongates its lifespan so you’ll be able to rely on it during the summer. Drain the pipes and hoses that are coming from your A/C so they have a lower chance of freezing. Vacuum the pools of water that may be lying around in your A/C’s drain pan. Also, be sure to get a plastic A/C cover. This keeps unwanted air and water out of your device and protects it from rusting.

Whether you’re planning a move in the winter, or just moved into your new place, winterizing your home helps it protect itself from the cold air of winter. The cold can end up damaging your home in many different ways, so it’s very important that you take these tips to heart in order to strengthen your Dallas home against the winter weather. After winterizing your home, you’ll surely be prepared for anything that may lie ahead.