It’s no secret the weather in North Texas can be unpredictable and brutal at its extremes. That’s why it’s important to be prepared for whatever mother nature throws our way. Our Winter Weather Emergency Preparedness list will help you know how to prep beforehand, and give you tips to keep you and your family safe in even the harshest of winter storms.
Check Exteriors, Doors and Windows
• Inspect exterior for crevice cracks and exposed entry points around pipes; seal them.
• Use weather stripping around doors to prevent cold air from entering the home and caulk windows.
• Replace cracked glass in windows and, if you end up replacing the entire window, prime and paint exposed wood.
• Get your HVAC system serviced, and have your duct work checked to be sure the air flow is uninterrupted and free of holes from pests.
• Reverse all ceiling fans in the house. This will help push warm air downward and force it to recirculate.
• Change the air filters in your home.
• Check the cold air return vents and make sure they are not blocked by furniture. Your furnace needs these to operate at high efficiency.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
• Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and/or water heater.
• Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
• After replacing batteries, test all detectors to make sure they work.
• Buy a fire extinguisher or replace your existing one if it is older than 10 years
Check the Foundation
Rake away all debris and vegetation from the foundation.
• Seal up entry points to keep small animals from crawling under the house.
• Tuckpoint or seal foundation cracks. Mice can slip through space as thin as a dime.
• Inspect sill plates for dry rot or pest infestation.
• Secure crawlspace entrances.
Prevent Plumbing Freezes
• Locate your water main in the event you need to shut it off in an emergency.
• Shut off the water to your hose bibs inside your house (via a turnoff valve), and drain the lines. Then insulate the spigot itself.
• Insulate exposed plumbing pipes that pass through unheated areas of your home, like the garage for instance.
• Flush your water heater to remove built-up sediment.
• If you go on vacation, leave the heat on, set to at least 55 degrees.
Prepare Landscaping and Outdoor Surfaces
• Trim trees if branches hang too close to the house or electrical wires.
• Turn off your sprinkler system.
• Clear the gutters of fallen leaves and debris.
• Ask a gardener when your trees should be pruned to prevent winter injury.
• Plant spring flower bulbs and lift bulbs that cannot winter over such as dahlias in areas where the ground freezes.
• Seal driveways, brick patios and wood decks.
• Move sensitive potted plants indoors or to a sheltered area.
Get the Fireplace Ready
• Cap or screen the top of the chimney to keep out rodents and birds.
• If the chimney hasn’t been cleaned for a while, call a chimney sweep to remove soot and creosote.
• Buy firewood or chop wood. Store it in a dry place away from the exterior of your home.
• Inspect the fireplace damper for proper opening and closing.
• Check the mortar between bricks and tuckpoint if necessary
Stock Up on These Items Prior to a Major Storm
Extra Gallons of Water or Bottled Water
Extra Baby Food/Formula
Extra Pet Food
Shelf Stable Meals
Shelf Stable Snacks
Battery Powered or Crank Flashlight
Battery Powered or Crank Radio
Consider a Portable Generator
Extra hats, coats, mittens, and blankets
A Warm Winter Coat
First Aid Kit
Tow Chains or Rope
Tire Chain if you need to drive
Cat Litter or Sand to help tires get traction
Create a winter storm emergency kit from the above list.
Locate the main water line to your house.
Fill up your car with gas.
Make sure your tires have air in them.
Charge all your devices and power strips.
Lower the heat in your house a few degrees if you can to help avoid grid failure.