The temperatures are going to drop DRAMATICALLY this weekend. Windchills expected to be in the teens and actual lows in the 20’s! 

Here are some tips for preparing for cold weather in Dallas:  

Heat Your Home: Keep the temperature inside the house at 65 degrees or more. The reason for this is that it’s significantly colder inside the walls, where a home’s pipes are situated. A home that has it’s temperature less than 65 degrees may provide an opportunity for pipes to freeze.  Additionally, don’t forget to leave doors to bedrooms and bathrooms open.  Don’t forget to set the thermostats on any vacant income properties as well.  

Know Where Your Water Shutoff Is Located: In case a pipe does burst, it’s important to know where the house’s main water shutoff is located. Homeowners should be certain they know how to use if necessary.  Many water shut offs require a water main key to open.  These can be purchased at your local hardware store.  Know where your key is and how to use it.  

Protect Your Pipes: Make sure all pipes are well insulated, especially outside. You can purchase faucet covers and pipe insulation at your local hardware store (or at the Skillman Home Depot, aisle 8 :))  If you notice that your faucet isn’t working, call your water company immediately. It’s also a good idea to open your hot and cold water faucets and let them slowly drip. When water is moving inside pipes it will prevent freezing.  

Fix Frozen Pipes Immediately: If you discover that a pipe is frozen, don’t wait for it to burst. Measures should be taken to safely thaw them, such as heating the pipe with a hair dryer. If this fails, the homeowner should immediately call a plumber for assistance. If a pipe has burst, turn off the water and clean up any spills.  Speaking from experience…a tea kettle full of steaming water poured down a drain near the frozen pipes worked wonders for us (though no guarantees for you!) 

Know Your Fire Safety: Keep a fire extinguisher on hand and make sure everyone in your household knows how to use it. You are at a higher risk for a house fire if you use alternate heating sources, especially if they’re not well-maintained and monitored. Winter is also a great time to start using your fireplace again, but make sure you’re flue is open and you don’t leave your flames unattended.

Reverse Ceiling Fans: Pull that anonymous string on your ceiling fan to reverse it. This will push warm air down and keep air circulating. The blades should be turning clockwise this time of year.

Test and Check Batteries: Test and replace batteries on smoke and carbon dioxide detectors!

Don’t Forget Your Fireplace:  We don’t use them a lot in Texas, which means it is easy to forget proper fireplace etiquette.  Make sure your flue is open, if your fireplace has a gas key it’s important to add the flame first (we recommend a long reach match) then turn the gas on.  If you need firewood, stock up now and keep it in an easy to reach place.  

Foundation Vents:  We always recommend that you to remove these!  And generally, these should be off throughout the year to allow the dirt under your home to stay dry. However, in cold weather, it’s a good idea to put these on to insulate the pipes under your home as much as possible.  

The Heather Guild Group loves being a resource to each of you for all things HOME! Stay warm this weekend!