It does not matter if you try to avoid the cold weather or embrace it, winter months are rapidly coming close. Here are 30 jobs to tackle currently to make sure your home is ready for the season.
Prepare Your Heater
Depending on the sort of heater you have, there are a couple of house maintenance things you should do before the temperatures really begin to dip. If you have a high-efficiency system, PVC air vent pipes require to be free from any kind of blockages. And those with a boiler system need to have their system cleaned each year. Those with gas should have a cleaning every three years. Below are 15 unexpected ways to keep your home warm that can conserve your money.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
If you have ceiling followers, there should be a switch to make the fan blades run clockwise. Running the blades in a clockwise position throughout the chillier months can push warmed air down. This house maintenance task makes rooms with high ceilings much more comfy.
Stop Pipes From Freezing
When water freezes, it broadens as well as can trigger your pipelines to rupture. To avoid these icy pipelines, insulate pipes near your windows, doors, and also in areas of the house that are unheated. Detach your garden hose pipe from the outdoor faucet. Finally, set the heat to no less than 55 degrees F.
Inspect The Fireplace and Chimney
If you use your fireplace, have it cleaned by a chimney sweep. You must additionally look for any type of particles and cracks in the chimney. As well as creosote build-up and debris such as fallen leaves, bird nests, etc which might become a fire danger.
Change Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Gas Detectors
Did you know that 27% of home fires during the winter months are from the heater? This is from a study from the United States Fire Administration which recommends that you keep both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in all major rooms of your home including hallways. Make sure that your batteries are changed out before each winter to ensure the safety of your family.
Consider a Generator For Your Home
Do you tend to have power failures or brownouts in your area? If so, you may want to consider a power generator. This will certainly help not only keep the lights on but keep your family warm during prolonged power interruptions. These are much less expensive than you might think. Check your local Costco for the latest models and pricing. They carry a variety of different sizes, each with different features that you can consider for your home.
Get Your Humidifier Ready
If your house has a whole-house humidifier, make certain the drain line is tidy. There is this device called the “Media Panel”, which mixes water with the flow of hot air from the heater. This device should be replaced twice each winter season to ensure good performance. Finally, check to see that your fan is clean and that your solenoid valve is working correctly. This can help you keep your humidity levels comfortable in your home throughout the winter season.
Protect Your Entryways
To help lessen the damage from ice, snow, and mud place mats both inside and outside the door. This, as well as boot trays inside the entrance, can really help keep the entryways cleaner as well as help from tracking mud and water into your home. Have plenty of hooks in this area for hats, jackets, gloves, and all other winter clothing that should remain in a place to help them dry out.
Clean Off Any Flat Roofs
In many parts of the U.S. Flat roofs are common. Leaves and other debris can trap moisture and can damage your roofing materials. Use a blower or rake for a quick cleanup.
Clean The Gutters
This is not a fun task…especially if your gutters are still wet from rainfall, however, this is a super important task to allow runoff from the snow to flow properly away from your home. Things like leaves, pinecones, pine needles, and other debris can build up over time and hold back proper water flow, and when this is held back it can cause not only leaks into your home but also flooding in basements. A little prevention can help curb expensive repair costs.
Protect The Air Conditioner
While it’s true that your AC unit is made to be outdoors, it can still take a beating from the elements, not to mention sleet, hail, and falling ice cycles. Purchasing an AC cover is really not necessary, in fact, you really should not cover your AC unit completely with a tarp or plastic because this can provide a nesting place for critters who can get in and damage the wiring and other parts of the system. It is recommended you just get a piece of plywood and place it over the AC unit and hold it down with a few bricks.
Window AC units should be removed and stored during the winter months.
Test Your Sump Pump
The lifespan for a sump pump is around 10 years, even if it has not been in use. Seals eventually break down and prevent it from removing the water properly. It’s good to check this by simply pouring a few gallons of water into the reservoir that is carved out for the pump to make sure it turns on automatically and removes the water. This will ensure your basement stays dry during this wet season.
Break Out The Shovels and Snow Blower
Make sure your snow shovels are placed in a convenient location for easy access. That way you can quickly grab them to clean off the walkways and driveway. Your snowblower hasn’t been used for at least 6 months, so it’s time to check the spark plug to see if it needs replacing. Changing the oil and gas is also important before each season.
Repair Handrails and Steps
The last thing you want to do is trip on the steps in the snow. Make sure the steps that lead to your home are clean of any bushes or branches or anything else that can trip you up. Be sure to make sure the handrails are in good order as well…you typically use these more often during winter months when you need a little more help with balance.
Examine Outdoor Lights
To help prevent tripping and falls, make sure your lights all work, including motion sensor lights. By doing this you can ensure your walkways, driveway, and side yards are all properly lit to help you avoid unnecessary injuries caused by falls.
Believe it or not, porcelain and clay pots take quite a beating during colder months. They can develop cracks from extreme temperatures and require maintenance to maintain their lifespan. You’ll want to remove any soil that can trap moisture that freezes and expands (causing these cracks). If you can, bring them inside a garage or shed to shield them from the cold weather. This will help them survive many more beautiful summers.
Flush & Insulate & Drain Sediment From Your Water Heater
Here is one item we can’t stress the importance of enough. This is probably the #1 overlooked item in maintaining a home. It turns out sediment collects in your water heater from the heating coils and the sediment in the water. This collects on the coils and flakes off and falls down to the bottom of the water heater. This sediment can cause hot spots that can damage the tank, lower heating coil, and other components prematurely and can also cause leaks. By draining this each year, you can remove a large portion of this sediment to help preserve your water heater and reduce heating bills.
To do this, you’ll need to completely flush your hot water heater. Make sure you turn the power off to the unit before draining to prevent burning out your heating coils. If you have a gas water heater, turn off the gas to the unit during the draining process, but make sure to turn the gas back on and relight the pilot after you have refilled the water heater.
Covering your water heater with insulation or a blanket can sure help keep your energy bills down during colder months as well. This will prevent the heat from escaping from the water heater and keep it in the water.
Prepare For The Storm
You know it’s coming…which will cause power outages, blocked streets, and increased time between visits to the store. Make sure you have your 72-hour survival kit stocked and ready to use. Replace the water, batteries, and food from last year. Also, make sure all your first-aid products are in good shape. A few extra battery-powered chargers for your phones can really come in handy during this time with no power.
Trim Tree Limbs
Untrimmed tree branches, or limbs can cause damage if they drop due to the weather or the weight of the snow and ice that forms on them during the winter. By trimming these down you can prevent damage to your home or car during a storm. If these limbs are high or excessively large, you may consider hiring a professional to get the job done.
Store Your Summer Tools
Shovels, rakes, weed eaters, and other tools you typically use during the summertime should be stored away for safekeeping. Wiping them down with mineral or vegetable oil can help prevent rusting as well.
Protect Any Patio Furniture
To prevent damage by the winter weather, you can store these in a garage or shed if possible. If you are unable to do this, covering them with a heavy tarp can prevent damage and rust to your outdoor furniture.
Stock Up on Salt And Sand
Salt and sand are extremely helpful when the snow falls to provide good traction for your walkways and driveway. By stocking up early, you can have these ready for when you need them.
Check for Home Air Leakage
A little preventative maintenance can save a ton on power bills by keeping the heat inside your home. Check around windows and doors for cracks or openings that are caused by damaged caulking or weatherstripping that keeps the cold out and the heat in. Replace or repair these as necessary to keep your home nice and cozy.
Stop Ice Dams
If your home is prone to ice dams and/or ice cycles, there are a few things you can do to help prevent these. By raking the snow off your roof on a regular basis, or installing heating coils or cables, these ice dams can be prevented.
Inspect the Roof
Make sure you give the roof a good look to make sure shingles or tiles are not missing. These missing shingles can cause leaks when you least expect them. This is also a good time to inspect anything that protrudes from the roof as well.
Install Storm Doors and Windows
Storm doors and windows will help in reducing warm loss throughout the chillier months, particularly for older homes that have single-pane home windows. These will most likely need to be custom ordered for your doors and windows and can be purchased from your local home improvement stores. Just make sure you measure twice before ordering, measurement mistakes can become quite costly.
Adding extra insulation in your attic and exterior walls, where they can be reached, can really help keep your heat in and the cold out. This really does not have to be done each year, but it should be something you think about in both the winter and summer months to maintain the comfortable temperatures in your home better.
We hope these items will spark some ideas in your mind to help you have a warmer winter and prevent damage to your home, property, and most importantly yourselves. Please let us know if there is anything we can do to help you with these efforts.