Is Your Home Ready For Winter?

Preparations For Heating, Irrigation, Security, And More.

7 Tips For Winterizing Your Home.

The summer of 2019 will go down in history books as one of the hottest ever on record. We think that the 2019/2020 winter is going to make records too. Even if you live in the south where winters aren’t so bad, it can have temperatures that can drop into the teens, and on occasion, fall below zero. So, we thought it would be helpful to share some tips that are guaranteed to help when getting your home ready for winter no matter where you live. 

#1.) Have A Professional Install A Smart Thermostat And Set Up Energy Monitoring For You. 

ECOBEE SMART THERMOSTATS GIVE IMPORTANT ALERTSEcobee thermostats will warn you if your homes heating system is failing to get your home to its desired temperature.

Everyone wants to save money while staying warm. An Ecobee thermostat is your best choice for controlling your heating and cooling costs. Since we’re talking about winter, we’ll stay with the subject of heating. Ecobee thermostats have an open API that enables them to communicate with almost any smart home control system. Control Your Thermostat, at home or away, from anywhere in the world. Program and override the automated system for the times that you want your home comfortable. Automatically turn the heat down when no one is at home. Implement occupancy sensors to control heating with the detection of family members at home. Watch consumption and costs fall dramatically with energy monitoring to keep those high utility bills in check. The Ecobee thermostat integrated with a home automation system can pay for itself in just a few winters. 

#2) Install And Use Automated Shades And Blinds To Your Advantage.

Motorized shades and blinds save you money in every season by limiting the amount of sunlight that enters through a window.
Motorized shades and blinds save you money in every season by limiting the amount of sunlight that enters through a window.

When someone mentions shades and blinds, automatically summer comes to mind. However, did you know that Using Automated Window Treatments in the Winter can be just as advantageous? According to the U.S. Department of Energy, standard windows of a home can lose 10% more energy without any window treatment. The recommendations for winterizing also urges home builders and owners to install double-pane energy-efficient windows, which can increase the R-factor of a home by 77%. If you add automated window treatments, some that may use temperature or a timed schedule, energy costs are considerably lower. Just remember, these systems are not easily self-installed, and it’s always best to have a professional do the work.

#3) Automate The Hot Water, And If You Use A Tank, Put A Jacket On It.

By Automating Your Hot Water to Heat When You Need It can save you money not only in winter but year-round as well. Again, energy monitoring is the key here. Set scheduled times for heating when the family is at home, and completely shut hot water heating off when no one is home. With the Proper Tank Jacket, the hot water tank can maintain its heat for several hours. The hot water power can be switched on manually with the app, or by resuming the schedule. Hot water on demand and tankless water heaters are sometimes shied away from because of their exuberant costs and complexity and are also harder to recover the investment on.

#4) Reverse The Direction Of Your Ceiling Fans For Evenly Warming Rooms. 

There is a method that works in Rotating Air in the Home Efficiently using Ceiling Fans. The rule is simple, winter-time set the fan to turn clockwise drawing air up, which pulls warm air trying to escape by walls along the floor, warming the cold air until the room is evenly heated. Keep the motion perpetual while people are in that area of the home. Reverse the fan to counterclockwise in summer for the opposite effect. Not only will your home feel more comfortable, but you’ll also see noticeable savings in your energy costs. 

Changing the direction of your ceiling fan for each season can make a room more comfortable and save energy at the same time.
Changing the direction of your ceiling fan for each season can make a room more comfortable and save energy at the same time.

#5) Winterizing Your Smart Irrigation System To Avoid Freeze Damage.

Irrigation Systems can Be Damaged during a Hard Winter Freeze, so let’s start by shutting off the irrigation system water supply and wrap any exposed pipes generously with insulation and plastic. You may be able to remove the sprinkler heads to keep them from getting damaged. If so, do this well before freezing temperatures are going to last more than 4 hours. In some instances, air can be blown through your irrigation pipes to evaporate any remaining moisture. Never use forced air as it can damage your pipes and your system. A non-toxic antifreeze for irrigation systems can be applied to keep above and below ground systems thawed. Never use regular antifreeze because it is a slow grass killer. A gravity-fed drainage system can also be used to drain the irrigation properly.

Interrupt the power supply by either unplugging the controller from its power source. Doing so may involve disconnecting wires, unplugging, or powering down a breaker. Remember, by cutting the power supply, you will need to reprogram the system the following season. Terminating the power supply could save you from expensive repairs from the system overheating and becoming damaged. 

#6) Installing Low Voltage Automated Lighting Adds An Extra Measure Of Safety And Security. 

Walking on Dark Unlit Paths can be Dangerous. Even in the south, there are a few times each year that walkways can get iced over. Pathways that are lit well with automated lights encourage a heightened awareness of a walkway’s condition, decreasing the risks of slipping and falling. Sensors are strategically placed to trigger lights on when motion is detected. 

Automated lights can also deter crime. Thwart robberies, assaults, and theft by installing automatic lights that keep you and your family safe. You can also add a video doorbell to work in conjunction with your light sensors, which sends a warning to your computer or mobile device. View all activities within the camera’s range of sight. You may ask what has lighting got to do with winterizing the home? Winter has shorter daylight hours, and the closer we get to December 21st, the dusk comes earlier, and it can start getting dark in the late afternoon, around 4:30ish. Many people get home from work after it’s dark. At Smarter Homes of Austin, we always have your safety in mind. 

#7) Have Your Fire Alarm System Checked.

A house-fire is bad news anytime it happens but seems to be worse during winter. At this time of year, fireplaces, wood stoves, and space heaters are brought out of their dormant stage and are usually the culprits of winter fires. Check your alarm system to ensure that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working correctly. We also want to keep anything flammable away from the mentioned types of heat. The National Association of Insurance recommends that placing furniture and other items three feet away from the heating source is best, even when the fire in a stove, behind glass or a fireplace screen, or glass doors. 

If you have a liner in your chimney, have it inspected to ensure that it is safe to use the whole season. For Chimneys that Need Cleaning, look for a reliable chimney sweep professional to clean away suit and creosote that is ordinarily acidic and can deteriorate your stack. Many home fires during the winter can start in the chimney. They can be undetectable, as well. The Chimney Safety Institute of America or CSIA for short recommends that you are a CSIA certified chimney sweep. To be an approved chimney sweep requires serious vetting and verifiable experience. We at Smarter Homes of Austin experienced similar vetting for our HTA (Home Technology Association) certification. It is best to go with a certified company when it comes to hiring for home or building services. 

A Failure To Plan For Winter Can Be A Winter Plan For Failure

There are many other valuable winterizing tips on the internet, but we wanted to make sure that you had the right tips to winterize your smart home. You can never be too overly cautious when it comes to the safety of your home and family. For more information, please out our other pages for the smart features mentioned in this article. We thank you for reading this critical blog. Please like and share. 

We are Austin’s leading smart home company offering fully certified smart home installations that are luxurious and comfortable. If you’re thinking about building a new home, consider making it a smart home. If you have an existing home that you want to make smarter, Give us a Call and let’s talk about our smart home retrofits.

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Prewire pricing will vary based on exactly what features you would like in your home. Read this article about the importance of wiring/cabling in today's "wireless" world. Your local Smarter Homes integrator is the best resource for exact prewire pricing. Wiring budget is for low-voltage wiring only, not electrical.
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This is called “video distribution” and reduces the amount of audio/video equipment located at each TV location/room.
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The installation of a lighting control system reduces wall clutter, allows preset lighting scenes at the push of a button, increases security through programming automation, and adds convenience.
Motorized shades add beauty, convenience, address privacy concerns, and can be used to save energy. If desired, provide your best guess on how many windows/shades you want to motorize. The higher-end of the budget range includes higher-end fabrics, large windows, and dual-roller shades (both sheer and privacy shades on one window).
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Austin’s Certified Luxury Home Automation, Home Theater, Audio Video & Wi-Fi Experts

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