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5 Crucial Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter in East Texas

Cold weather, ice, and snow can do some serious damage to your home. And while home maintenance is never fun, it’s extremely necessary for the overall health of your home, as well as your family. Along with insulating your piping, 1st Call Restoration wants to help keep you ahead of the game for the potentially harsh winter we may face this season here in East Texas.

Check out these 5 tips to get started!

Insulate Windows 

Winter drafts raise your overall energy bill and consumption. By sealing up any drafts, you can save an average of 20% per year on your overall energy bill U.S. Energy Department. Here are a few solutions (most under $10!) that will allow you to make the most out of your insulation, and quickly!

V-Seal Weather Stripping:

V-Seal weather stripping is a plastic weather stripping that runs along the side of your sashes. Windows will still be able to open and shut evenly with the V-Seal Weather Stripping in place. You can also use this on drafty doors!

Rope Caulk:

Rope caulk is a soft, sticky material that is able to be molded into any size or shape to fill gaps where there are drafts. At the end of the Winter season, this caulking can be easily removed, with little to no mess!

Shrink Film:

Shrink film is usually applied with a double-sided tape, and is a clear plastic sheet that has the ability to shrink down tightly when heated with a hair dryer. Shrink film can seal off drafts, and assist with insulation. Like Rope Caulk, shrink film can be easily removed with rubbing alcohol after the cold has passed.

Nail Polish:

If you have a crack in a glass door or window, you can carefully apply clear nail polish to the affected area. The clear nail polish will harden, stabilizing the piece of glass until you are able to replace it during the warmer seasons.

Draft Snake:

If you notice that the bottom of your windows are allowing cold air to draft in, a draft snake kit is a foam-and-fabric kit that can be cut into the length needed. Follow the instructions on the packaging for how to install a draft snake kit properly for your window size.

Trim away tree branches 

While this is one of the most tedious winter preparation tasks on our list, it is one of the most important ones. Insurance experts estimate that collapsing trees result in average property claims anywhere from $3,000 in some parts of the country all the way up to $10,000 from tree branches breaking, or contributing to water damages! Overhanging limbs can cause excess water to seep into the cracks in your home’s roofing structure, as well as your siding. Make sure all tree limbs and branches are at least 3 feet away from your home to prevent costly damages and repairs once the winter storm passes.

Inspect your fireplace 

Take a few moments to give a thorough visual inspection both to the interior and exterior of your fireplace (if you have one within your East Texas home).

Outdoor inspection checklist:

Ensure that your chimney cap is present and in good working condition.

Inspect the area for bird nests or other debris buildup on the cap.

Remove any tree limbs that are above or near your chimney.

Thoroughly inspect the mortar bricks around your chimney for damage – replace if needed.

Measure your chimney to ensure that it rises at a minimum of 2 feet above your roof.

When looking at your chimney crown, inspect the sloping cement shoulders at the top of your chimney, and make sure these are beveled. Doing so will help with airflow to your fireplace.

Make sure that your ‘flue liner’ is visible above your chimney crown.

Inspect the flashing near your chimney and make sure it is tight, with no damages. This will help to prevent any leaks around your chimney that could make their way inside your home causing further damages.

Inside inspection checklist:

Make sure that your fireplace flue damper opens, closes and seals back properly. Replace sealant or other parts if necessary to do so.

Remove any combustible materials such as birds nests, or other foreigh materials from within the flue.

Inspect the inside of your fireplace for any damages such as cracks or missing mortars.

Gas fireplace inspection checklist:

Inspect your glass doors for any cracks or issues with your latching.

Check your gas logs and make sure they are in the proper position.

Turn off gas at your shut off valve and test your igniter for any issues.

Ignite your fire and look for any clogged burner holes. If you find that any of your gas fireplace burner holes are blocked, simply clear the obstructions with a pin or sewing needle once your ignition is off.

If you happen to spot any damages, call your local professional for a fireplace and chimney inspection. Doing so could prevent costly damages and repairs in the event that a malfunctioning chimney causes a house fire.

Check on the condition of your roof 

Checking the condition of your roof before the first winter storms will prove helpful and cost effective. No homeowner wants to find out that they have a bad spot in their roof AFTER the first snow or winter storm strikes. Many roofing companies offer free roofing consultations and can help you not only spot any potential issues, but also provide you a quote on repairs.

If you are a do-it-yourself-er, take great care and precautions when climbing atop of your home’s roof. If you do not feel comfortable climbing to the roof, a pair of good binoculars will help!

Roof inspection checklist:

Inspect your roof for any cracked caulking or rusted spots on your flashing.

Look for any shingles that are buckling, curling, blistering, broken or missing.

Take a moment to review any cracked or worn rubber boots around your vent pipes.

If you find any moss or lichen on your roof, this could be a sign that your roof is decaying underneath the surface. Black algae stains are simply cosmetic and can easily be cleaned away with a water hose from the ground.

Clean out gutters and downspouts 

Did you know that clogged rain gutters and/or downspouts can cause severe damage to your home’s foundation? Along with foundation damage, other issues such as ice dams are also a high possibility. Once fall has passed, and before the winter storm comes;

Clean your gutters to remove any leaves, twigs, bird nests, and other debris.

Inspect your gutters to make sure there are no broken links, and you do not see any signs of sagging.

Tighten your gutter hangers and downspout brackets.

Replace any worn or damaged materials before the winter storm arrives.

Contact 1st Call Restoration today for any of your water damage restoration needs! 

1st Call Restoration is located within East Texas, and is your most comprehensive source for all your residential and commercial restoration service needs. Give us a call today at 903-287-6400, 24/7 to learn about how our highly trained team of water mitigation professionals can assist you in restoring your home, life, and peace of mind.