Your home is probably one of your biggest investments, but keeping it in top shape can be tough. From an ice dam on your roof to drafty windows that let heat escape, there are plenty of things that can take a toll on you and your wallet if not properly maintained. Here are winter maintenance tips that cover a variety of situations that could arise at your home:
Inspect Your Roof
Whether you are concerned about your roof’s condition because of recent storm damage or simply to maintain the value of your home, inspecting the roof is an essential part of wintertime. Harsh winter weather can wreak havoc on rooftops, causing leaks or other damage. By spending a little time finding potential problem areas around your house before the cold weather sets in, you’ll save both money and frustration by preventing repairs over the winter. Check the underside of your roofing for missing or curling shingles.You can hire a company dealing in tree service to deal with hanging branches before they cause serious damage to your roof.
The heat from a house can cause shingles to curl up, exposing the under-layers and leading to leaks. If you see any damaged areas near your chimney or other exhaust vents, add felt paper or another material that covers both sides to fix them. Check your roof for small holes, which can easily cause leaks during the winter. Even small holes can cause problems if there is a lot of snowfall because the snow will settle into the hole and create an ice dam. Repairing small holes can be a simple as putting some roofing cement underneath roof tiles on both sides. If you have a steep roof, make sure you inspect the entire surface for pine needles or leaves that might have been blown up by the wind or settled from autumn. Remember that such a scenario might force you to carry out an antenna repair due to possible damage.
Repair or Replace Gutters
Gutters play a very important part in helping to protect your home from storm damage. Because of this, you must keep your gutters clear and free from blockages all year round. For successful home maintenance for winter, your gutters should be inspected regularly for signs of wear and tear and problems such as leaks or clogs. If there is damage to your gutters, they should be repaired or replaced as soon as possible. Inspecting your gutters for wear and tear is an easy task that requires a lot of time or effort.
Examine your gutters from both the ground and the stepladder to see any small holes, cracks, damage, loose fittings, or rust spots. Make sure all of the seams are sealed tightly. If you see any issues with your gutters, contact a competent roofer or gutter installation firm to inspect your gutters more closely. You may need to replace the entire gutter if the damage is too great or if you don’t feel like doing a repair job. Replacing your gutters can help with home maintenance for winter while also protecting your home against storm damage. This winter, you should spend some time examining the gutters to check for any problems that may need fixing or replacing.
Test Sump Pumps
Winterizing your home is a good way to help prevent moisture and cold weather damage, but not everyone knows that testing their sump pumps is also a great home maintenance idea of winter. A sump pump is an electric device typically used in basements or garages that takes water from beneath the home and pushes it outside through a pipe system. If a sump pump is faulty or improperly installed, water can start pooling beneath the home and freeze during the winter. This results in costly damage to your home’s foundation and walls – sometimes even necessitating a rebuild – so it’s important to test your pumps before the cold weather sets in.
When testing your sump pumps, simply position a bucket beneath the pump, plug in the pump, and see if it drains all of the water from the bucket. If water remains in the bucket after 10 minutes, there is a problem with your pump. The next step is to ensure that your sump pumps are maintained for optimal performance throughout the winter months. You can do this by cleaning them out and checking the power cord for any damage. If you notice that your sump pumps aren’t working as well as they were in the summer, it’s important to take action immediately – especially if you are concerned about succeeding in your home maintenance for winter project.
Check the Weather Stripping on Your Garage Door
Just as seasonal changes affect the performance and life of your automobile, they also play a role in how well your garage door functions. The right lubricant choice, routine maintenance, and weather stripping inspection are just three things you can do for home maintenance for winter plan. One of the simplest ways to prepare your garage door for winter is to check the weather stripping that’s installed on the bottom and top sections. The weather-stripping can become dry and brittle, which prevents it from working as designed to keep out cold air and moisture.
Replacing old weather stripping with fresh material not only improves insulation but also helps keep the bottom of your garage door clean. That’s because snow and ice don’t stick to new weather stripping, thereby preventing buildup that can create slick surfaces for your car or other vehicles. Look below your garage door to check the condition of the weather-stripping. You might need to raise them slightly with a broom handle to access the top weather-stripping on some doors. Check both of these areas for cracks, tears, and other damage. If you notice any of these issues (or if your door has none at all), new weather-stripping can be easily installed in a matter of minutes. Carpet and flooring company could come in handy when you are looking for a garage door repair service when it comes to installation of new weather stripping on your garage door.
Change Your Air Filters
In the winter months, air filters for heating and cooling systems can be a major factor in your comfort as well as your utility bills. To keep the air coming into your home fresh as well as clean, it’s important to change furnace and air conditioning filters at least once every three months. If you currently have a dirty filter, changing it immediately will be fruitful home maintenance for winter projects. A clean air filter allows your heating and cooling system to run efficiently, saving money on utility bills. It also keeps your system running at peak performance, making your home more comfortable all winter long.
Investing in a high-quality air filter can help you save money by protecting your equipment like a hot water heater from premature failure for up to 12 months. Look for a filter with an efficiency rating of MERV 11 or higher, which provides the highest level of performance and protection. If you need assistance finding the right filter for your system, ask a professional to help you choose one. The size of the filter you need depends on your system and airflow needs. A professional can help determine the appropriate size for your system. To save money, look for a reusable, high-efficiency filter.
Clean Out Dryer Vents
A dryer vent is a normally neglected maintenance item that could save you money and potential headaches down the road. Not only should cleaning be done every year, but many newer homes should have their vents checked yearly as well, to ensure they are properly connected and clear of lint buildup. A dryer with lint buildup will overheat and not function properly. It could also pose a serious fire hazard. If you notice your dryer taking longer to finish a cycle, this could be the reason. Lint buildup also poses a home heating problem if not maintained properly.
The vents will clog and reduce airflow through your home, which can cause heat loss and increase heating bills. If you do not use an exterior vent for your dryer, make sure there are annual cleanings as well. There is a simple test you can do at home to see if your vent needs cleaning. Remove the vent from where it is connected to your home and shine a flashlight inside. If you notice a lint buildup, you should have your vent professionally cleaned with a high-pressure dryer-vent cleaning machine. Purchasing a new dryer is not only expensive but also unnecessary if your current one just needs some TLC.
Check Your Outdoor Faucets for Leaks
While there are many components of a home that need maintenance, faucets are some of the most frequently used items—and ones that can easily drip or leak water. This is especially true if you happen to be adjusting it with wet hands. But if you’re proactive about home maintenance for winter, you can save money in utility costs, as well as help protect the environment. The number one culprit of leaks in faucets is a damaged O-ring. If you notice the sound of running water when your faucet is off or see moisture on the outside, you can easily install a replacement O-ring yourself without calling a plumber or hiring a plumbing contractor. Here’s how: Turn off the cold water supply valve under your sink. Turn on the faucet to let any remaining water drain out.
If the water flow coming from the faucet is too fast, you can use a piece of cloth or rubber band to temporarily block it until all the water has drained and you’re ready to replace the O-ring. Remove the cap or decorative screw on top of your faucet. This should be located under the knob you turn to turn the water on and off. It’s usually quite visible, so you should have no trouble finding it. Then, grasp firmly with one hand around the neck (the widest part) of your faucet and turn the cap or screw counterclockwise to remove it. Remove the decorative plate on the underside of your faucet by prying it off with a flathead screwdriver. This will expose the water supply lines, the O-ring and the nut used for securing it.
Have the Chimney Cleaned Before Winter
Having the chimney cleaned is a home maintenance tip that can help you with your home maintenance for winter quest. If your fireplace hasn’t been used for some time, it’s important to have the chimney professionally inspected and swept before using it. Creosote and chimney fires can be prevented during the winter months, too. If you burn firewood in your fireplace, the creosote that accumulates can ignite and create a chimney fire. While such fires are uncommon, they’re dangerous when they do happen.
The safest way to avoid them is to have your chimney inspected and cleaned before winter begins each year. Chimneys should also be inspected after high use, like winter. If you spend a lot of time in your fireplace during the winter months, it’s important to have the chimney inspected and cleaned again before spring arrives. If you notice that the fireplace or chimney is smoking, it’s time to call in a professional. A professional can inspect your flue and fireplace to determine how best you can achieve your home maintenance for winter plans. If you notice cracks in the masonry or bricks around your fireplace, it’s time for another inspection.
Clean Around the Water Heater
If there’s one place in the home where dirt, grime, and germs can accumulate, it has to be around your water heater. Cleaning the area around your water heater is an easy DIY home maintenance for winter project that you should plan during the winter months when you need to purge old gas from appliances anyway. Clean around your water heater and save yourself a costly disaster by following these easy steps: Before you start, shut off the power to your water heater. If you’re not sure where the switch is located, flip the main circuit breaker on your home’s electrical panel. Make sure you put a note on or near that circuit breaker so that everyone in your family is aware of this important safety step when the water heater needs to be serviced in the future.
You can also put a reminder in your calendar or phone so that you don’t forget. Clean around your water heater and use oil for heater. Wipe down the area, including the floor or carpeting, with a mixture of soap and water to cut through any grime or buildup. You can use a commercial cleaner if you prefer. Don’t forget to clean behind your appliances where dust and dirt tend to accumulate.
Your home is your castle, and it’s important to protect it. This is especially true when planning for home maintenance for winter. You can’t just stack some sandbags around that door frame or let down a drawbridge. You need an effective defense strategy to keep your home safe from the elements. If you are wondering how to do this, consider some of the tips discussed in this article.