A special thanks to Paul Denikin for writing this blog for us.
Winter weather is upon us, and with plummeting temperatures comes the potential for costly home damage. Lack of winter preparation can even be dangerous. Use this home maintenance checklist to enjoy the winter season comfortably and safely.
- Clean your gutters and check downspouts. Debris in your gutters can cause major problems if not cleared regularly. Removing leaves, sticks, and other organic matter from your drainage system each fall ensures you won’t have to worry about ice dams and dangerous falling icicles in the winter. Run a hose through the system if possible to ensure that everything is draining properly.
- Winterize your pipes and outdoor spigots. Freezing water expands, and if not properly winterized, this leaves your pipes vulnerable to bursting, and appliances and fixtures susceptible to winter damage. Follow these steps to prepare your water system for cold temperatures. If plumbing isn’t your thing, a licensed plumber can always give you great advice to prevent winter issues.
- Prep your HVAC system. According to The Department of Energy, giving your system a little TLC can reduce your energy consumption by a hefty 15 to 25 percent. Here’s a few tips for getting your HVAC system ready for winter:
- Change your filter. A dirty filter reduces the system’s ability to work at capacity, costing you money. If you’re not doing this every four to six weeks, you’re paying for it.
- Clean your vents and air registers by removing the grills and floor registers, and wiping around the openings. Wash the actual vents before returning them, and you’ll be rewarded with less home air pollution.
- Cut back any brush that is growing around your HVAC unit.
- Consider a routine HVAC checkup. Routine maintenance not only saves you in energy costs, but gives you the peace of mind that comes with a reliable and safe system.
- For more tips on routine HVAC maintenance, refer to this monthly maintenance checklist from HomeAdvisor.
- Checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is a must. The National Fire Protection Association reports that three of every five home fire deaths results from a fire in a home with no smoke alarms or no working alarm. Further, in fires which smoke alarms were present but did not operate, nearly half had missing or disconnected batteries. A good time to remember to check the operation of your smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detector is when you change your clocks twice a year.
- Clean your windows. Clean like the professionals, and you’ll enjoy more beautiful views of the winter wonderland. Check for any gaps that allow air to escape or enter, and caulk as necessary.
- Tidy up the lawn. You’ll avoid spring pest and disease problems if trim your yard one final time to the proper height. Take time to tidy up your flower beds and clear away all dead branches and leaves for a better spring growth season.
- Replace weather-stripping on exterior doors. Over time, the weather stripping
around doors dries out and disintegrates, making for higher utility bills. Attaching new weather stripping is a fast and easy do-it-yourself job.
- Clean the garage. Most homeowners use their garage as a doorway to their home, and yet a 2015 study by Garage Gladiators found that almost one in four homeowners lacked the room to store their car due to clutter. Take some time to go through everything that’s gathered there, and if you haven’t touched it in a year or two, toss it.
Prepping your home with some winter maintenance now will leave you more time to kick back and relax in front of a warm fire and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Get started now before it’s too late!