A local expert's advice for prepping your home for cold weather

By R. Hans Miller, News Editor
Posted 11/30/21

As winter weather approaches, Katy area residents may have flashbacks to the week of Valentine’s Day when Winter Storm Uri took out power throughout Texas. The lack of electricity – and …

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A local expert's advice for prepping your home for cold weather

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As winter weather approaches, Katy area residents may have flashbacks to the week of Valentine’s Day when Winter Storm Uri took out power throughout Texas. The lack of electricity – and thereby heat for many Katy Times readers – caused widespread damage as pipes froze and burst and other damages that could have been prevented with some preparation.

Bryant Gauthier, co-founder and operations manager at ThisIsLivin Homes, agreed to answer questions to help area residents prepare for upcoming winter conditions as temperatures cool. Gauthier and his wife, Jodi Gauthier, have worked extensively over the last several months to help homeowners remodel homes damaged as a result of Winter Storm Uri.

Q: During Winter Storm Uri in February, what were the preventable damages that clients called you to help repair the most? 

Gauthier: The majority of our calls came from busted pipes. They were the number one source of cabinet and sheetrock damage in most homes in our area. We had many clients that had wanted to remodel the entire kitchen for some time and they took advantage of the unfortunate opportunity to do so.

Q: With those same problems in mind, what preventive steps should Katy area residents be taking as temperatures begin to dip to ensure their homes are prepared for winter weather? 

We’d recommend insulating pool equipment, attic pipes, and any exterior or exposed pipes early on in the season. Getting your furnace inspected and or serviced yearly is a good idea. It is also important to have your chimney swept if you have a wood-burning fireplace and have not done so recently. 

Q: Plumbing is obviously a big concern for winter weather. What inexpensive steps can our readers take to protect their homes from water damage due to burst pipes?

Insulating exposed pipes in the attic can be done before temperatures drop. If we experience anything like Uri again and happen to lose power for days, it is important to turn off your main valve to your home and drain all faucets and lines IF you are leaving your home unattended.

Many homeowners left their homes to head to neighbors or relatives that had power and when they returned the water lines had defrosted and left water running throughout the homes causing extensive damage.

If you plan on staying in your home and braving the frigid temperatures slowly dripping the faucets and leaving cabinet doors open can prevent pipes from freezing.

Q: To prepare their landscaping and the exterior of their homes for the cold, what do you recommend people in the Katy area do?

Have your roof inspected and maintenance package done to ensure all flashing, shingles and vents are secure and sealed. Bring in any tropical warm weather plants. Caulk and seal all windows and any exposed electrical or plumbing openings to keep cold air out.

Q: Many attics in the Katy area are ventilated to ensure heat escapes rather than to keep warmth in. What items in attics and crawlspaces should be checked after a cold snap? 

Check your pipes, look for any signs of moisture or water staining on the roof decking. Also, make sure that any exposed pipes are insulated.

Q: What other general advice do you have for readers to help them ensure their homes are protected from severe cold snaps?

If you have an older home or a home that has copper and/or CPVC pipes consider investing in a pex repipe. If you are considering a home remodel you may want to think about converting the fireplace or range to gas. If we happen to lose power for an extended period of time again, you can camp out by the fireplace and make the best of it. 

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