The arrival of winter not only brings a cold chill in the air, but the responsibility of maintaining the home in case of bad winter storms. According to the Wichita Falls American Red Cross, North Texas is prone to winter storms.

“By preparing together for winter storms, we can make our families safer and our communities stronger,” said American Red Cross Wichita Falls area Executive Director Katrina Farmer.

An “Easy Home Winterizing Checklist” on About.com advises that preparing a home and car in advance can save money on repairs due to winter damage. Homeowners should check that their homes are properly insulated by installing storm windows, sealing off any gaps on windows with weather stripping and covering windows with plastic from the inside to help keep cold air out.

Those with fireplaces should clean them out each year, along with their chimneys. Additionally, heating vents should be checked to ensure they’re not blocked or covered by furniture, carpeting or curtains. The website also suggests homeowners appointment for an annual heating system check-up.

Winter can also cause water pipes to freeze. The checklist states that running water, even at a trickle, helps to prevent pipes from freezing, so it’s important to let the water trickle on a day when temperatures reach points at or below freezing.

Read the entire story in this weekend's edition of The Graham Leader.