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Winter is Here! Weatherize Your Home Today

“Morning Frozen Grass” by George Hodan / image under Public Domain license

Forecasts of plunging temperatures reaching into the teens probably trigger memories of Houston’s Winter Storm of February 2021. Almost two years ago, a statewide freeze and high demand for energy caused power outages when people needed to stay warm and resulted in the deaths of nearly 250 Texans. Fortunately, the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) expects the power to stay on this time. It’s important to weatherize your home to use less power, reducing the draw on the power grid and hopefully ensuring that the power stays on.

The Houston Advanced Research Center (HARC) advises that you weatherize your home by adding insulation, upgrading windows and doors, sealing air leaks, and updating HVAC systems and appliances to modern versions that need little power to operate. You may feel the initial installation costs, but in the long run, because weatherizing your home reduces your power consumption it helps power bills as well. Also, there is assistance available to pay for the installation costs! The US Department of Energy offers help to qualified low-income households through its Weatherization Assistance Program which helps with energy audits and health and safety concern evaluations. The Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) also offers assistance to low-income customers in controlling energy costs through weatherization and education. And for Harris County residents, BakerRipley’s Weatherization Program aims to reduce energy consumption, make homes more comfortable and more efficient.

We urge you to follow the normal guidelines about protecting your pipes, pets, and plants — and please check on the elderly, compromised friends or family, and people experiencing homelessness. The City of Houston has opened these warming stations for anyone without access to heat: Moody Community Center at 3725 Fulton St. in the Northside; the Fonde Community Center at 110 Sabine St just west of downtown; and the Acres Homes Multi-Service Center at 6719 West Montgomery Road.

Please stay warm in the coming days and be sure to weatherize your home for the next bout of extreme temperatures. And have a Happy Holiday!