keep your house warm

Winter Preparation:

Keeping your house warm and cozy for cold winter months

By Holiday, Home
keep your house warm
Texas is known for its hot summers, but in some areas, like the Panhandle, winters can be a bit chilly. It pays to prepare ahead of time for the cold season so you and your family can stay as warm and cozy as
possibleduring the late Fall and Winter.

In previous blog posts, we covered how to protect your home from viruses and from Texas storm season. Protection from the cold is no less important! Here are 5 tips to help you keep your home warm and cozy this winter.

1. Invest In New Windows & Doors

If your home has outdated, inefficient windows and doors, that is costing you money every day as you pay to heat or cool your premises. Winter is the season when this kind of poor energy efficiency costs you the most.

Thus, there is no better time to upgrade with newer, more efficient, and better-looking windows and doors than just before winter. They will ultimately pay for themselves in what they save you on your energy bills.

2. Up Your Insulation Game

Another approach is to add insulation – or more/better insulation as the case may be, around your existing windows and doors. Use heavy curtains to help reduce drafts as well. And use caulk and/or weather stripping around all openings.

If you lack proper insulation in your attic, realize that most of the heat escaping from your home goes out through the attic. Reducing attic heat loss greatly boosts your home’s overall energy efficiency. It will make it faster to warm up your home as well.

One final thought. Laying down large, heavy area rugs will help insulate your flooring, preventing excessive updrafts and preventing cold feet in the morning as well!

3. Get Your HVAC Inspected

Many times, homeowners fail to get their HVAC system up to speed before winter. But having it inspected and repairing and ductwork leaks or problems with the heater may save you hundreds of dollars and keep you warmer and toastier too.

If you rely on an oil heater during the winter months, at least in some rooms of your home, be sure it is filled (but not overfilled) with oil before use. Also, consider getting the oil heater a professional tune-up.

4. Call A Chimney Sweeper!

Chimneys aren’t as common these days, but wood stoves are. Anything that has a flue requires some maintenance for maximum performance and full safety.keep your house warm

Use a chimney-cleaning fire log, have the flue inspected and repaired if necessary, and (for chimneys) call in a pro sweeper to ensure top performance this winter.

5. Run Your Ceiling Fans Backwards

One final trick that can keep you significantly warmer with minimal additional cost – run your ceiling fans in reverse during the cold season.

This has the effect of pushing heated air back down and lifting the colder air up. It will let you experience the benefit of your heating faster, plus, it will circulate air so that your home’s air ultimately reaches a more even temperature distribution.

For additional tips and advice on maximizing the warmth and comfort of your home this Texas winter, or for help in selling, buying, building, or trading-in a homecontact Experience Homes in the Texas Panhandle today!

storm season

Preparing Your Home For Storm Season in Texas

By Home

Severe storms can come at any time in Texas, but risks run higher for your home during certain times of the year. Hurricanes hit the coast from June through November, sending strong winds and heavy rains throughout much of the rest of the state. And tornado season picks up in March and runs strong through August.

In the North Texas Panhandle around Amarillo, it’s the tornado season in the spring that brings the worst storms. Springtime means more than just flowers blooming and birds chirping – it also means hail, lightning, thunder, and the threat of tornadoes.

That makes spring a good time for some home maintenance to get your home prepared for the inclement weather. Here are 7 key home maintenance tips to keep in mind for Texas storm season.

1. Get A Professional Roof Inspection

Your roof protects every other part of your home since everything else is under it, and a leak could mean expensive interior water damage. Getting a roof inspection done in early spring may reveal problems and weak points.

A timely roof repair, or in some cases, a re-roofing job, will help you avert serious damage. Remember that your roof is easily the most vulnerable part of your home during storm season.

2. Do Landscaping Maintenance

Any debris left lying around your yard could become a projectile during a tornado. And dead trees or branches are likely to topple in strong winds. Also, tree branches hanging over your house may damage the roof either by breaking off and crashing into it or by swaying back and forth and scratching it.

Thus, spring is a great time to make your landscaping safer as well as more beautiful. 

3. Clean Out Your Gutters

Another important way to protect your home during storm season is to clean out and inspect your guttering system. If gutters are stuffed with leaves, sticks, and dust, they could back up during a storm and cause a leak. The water could also cause fascia boards and the edges of your roof decking to rot or mold.

If gutters are leaning over, loose, or need more gutter caulk at points, be sure to make all necessary repairs promptly.

4. Inspect Your Basement Or Storm Shelter

Due to the tendency of Texas’ clay soil to cause basement cement damage, many Texas homes have a slab only and an external storm shelter.

Whatever your home has, you need to inspect it in the spring for cracks and fissures. Damage to the cement in your basement wall, slab, or storm shelter wall should be repaired to prevent leaks, further damage, or an unsafe situation during a storm.

5. Be Ready For Major Storms

It’s a good idea to keep a sump pump and a portable gas generator at home. This will allow you to combat storm-related flooding and to have power during an outage.

Installing storm shutters before a major storm is supposed to hit may also be a good idea. Extra-thick (5/8 inch) plywood over windows and sliding glass doors is ideal.

Also, stock up on items like flashlights (and batteries), candles and matches, canned goods, bottled water, a first aid kit, and other survival supplies.

6. Be Prepared Financially

Be sure to have an emergency fund and homeowners insurance in place before storm season. Flood insurance is also important in some areas. Take a home inventory and pictures of possessions to show your insurer. This is an important aspect of preparing your home for potential storm damage.

7. Protect Your Electronics

Be sure electronics are protected by surge protectors. Storms are very likely to send power surges through the system that could damage or destroy computers and other electronics – or even start a fire.

Also, consider getting a UPS (uninterrupted power supply) system so that sudden power outages won’t damage your electronics either.

When looking to build a Texas tough home in the panhandle, contact the experts at Experience Homes in Amarillo, Texas!

Cleaning Routines to Keep Your Home Virus-Free

By Home

As COVID-19 (Coronavirus) is making headlines and going around, you may already be taking extra precautions through social distancing, avoiding unnecessary trips to the store, and practicing super-high bodily hygiene.

But don’t overlook how cleaning your home and keeping it spic and span during the crisis can help defeat the coronavirus in your new home.

Home maintenance and cleaning can help keep your home virus-free. And since the virus can live on surfaces for anywhere from a few hours to a few days, ramping up your cleaning routine is going to be important.

Here are 5 ways home cleaning and common sense can lower the riks of contracting coronavirus.

1. Sanitize And Disinfect Surfaces

Sanitizing means just cleaning, with soap and water or by dusting off. Disinfecting means killing the pathogens. Always start by sanitizing and follow up by disinfecting.

Focus on surfaces that get touched a lot like doorknobs, blinds rollers, cabinet-door handles, table surfaces, desktops, toilet flush levers, faucet on/off knobs, remote controls, microwave buttons, and video game controls.

Also, put a premium of attention on areas where it may get damp and dark so that germs are more likely to thrive. This includes mainly the bathroom and the kitchen.

2. Establish A Home Hand-cleaning Station

Not only do you need to designate one or more sinks as hand-washing stations to fight the virus, but you need to make sure those sinks are always free of dirty dishes and totally washed and cleaned – both sink bowl and faucet.

Have all the products you need to clean and disinfect hands right there by the hand-washing station. This includes bar soaps, anti-bacterial liquid soaps, hand sanitizers, sanitizing wipes, fresh, clean hand towels, and a hamper with a lid to collect used towels.

3. Stock Up On The Right Home Cleaning Products

Also, be sure to stock up on the safest and most powerful cleaning products to sanitize and disinfect surfaces in your home. Keep them in a cabinet you can easily access but that can be locked to keep kids and pets out.

You may have thought your work was finished after winter-proofing your home this winter, but spring brings its challenges too. Colds, The Flu, and Coronavirus are very real dangers, so be prepared. You will need bleach, rubbing alcohol, and products containing the same.

Use separate cleaners for the bathroom, the kitchen, and the rest of the home. Check expiration dates and be aware of EPA recommendations. Always closely follow directions for use to keep things safe, kill the most germs, and avoid damaging your furniture.

4. Get Your Laundry Area Ready For Heavy Use

Coronavirus can live on fabrics for hours or even a day. That’s why it’s important to wash and dry your clothes promptly during the crisis.

Start by removing all clutter from the laundry area. Clean the washer and dryer, inside and out. Sweep and clean the floor in the area. Have all the laundry baskets, detergents, and other products/tools you need to carry out your predetermined system for processing loads.

5. Vacuum, Sweep, Mop, and Wash Walls/Ceilings

Home maintenance must also extend to your building itself, not just the surfaces of furniture inside of it. Vacuum, sweep, and mop more frequently than usual. Take time to dust and wash walls and ceilings at some point too.

Clean off the dust clinging to the top surface of ceiling fans or to other fans (before using them!)

Have a home maintenance routine that you follow right after getting home from work and a checklist so you won’t forget any important aspects of fighting the virus at home.

For additional homebuilding advice, feel free to contact the experts at Experience Homes in Amarillo, Texas, today!