We are in the new year now and definitely in winter because it’s cold outside! For many parts of the country, very cold. So with all that cold, we need to remember to take care of our homes to avoid damage and loss of heat while we try to stay warm. Here is a quick list of some home maintenance tips for winter that may help you or maybe just remind you to check on. I’ve written about winter home maintenance tips in the past (linked to an older post on the topic) but we’ve had a few bouts of extreme temperatures that I thought I would update it.
Roof and gutters – The first of the home maintenance tips for winter begins outside and is very important. When there is snow on the roof, that may be the best time to take a look around and make sure there is no ice dams forming in areas there with some overhang and shade. Once the ice builds up and stays, it has the potential to cause some real damage to the roof and gutters. If you notice areas like this on your roof, try to keep them clear in the future if possible to allow melting and draining. There are several reasons why ice dams form and many ways to handle them. In some cases, you may need a pro to help. Also, walk around and take a look at the gutters. Are there areas that don’t flow, or maybe leak or overflow causing a frozen surface to slip on below? When the weather permits, have them evaluated and repaired.
Sprinkler systems and hoses – The second of the home maintenance tips for winter is pretty obvious but can get missed. This is something that you probably took care of in the fall, but in case you didn’t, make sure you do now. Drain out the sprinkler system of all the water and if you can, cover and wrap the exterior pipes to help prevent freezing. I see a lot of hoses still attached to the spigot, or hose bib, all winter long. This can definitely lead to freezing and cracking of those pipes. Just disconnect the hose and with most of the spigots nowadays that is all you really need to do. You don’t need any problems or costly repairs for a simple fix!
Shovel – Gas/Oil mix – Ice Melt – Another of the home maintenance tips for winter that seem obvious but often forgotten is simply having the equipment on hand to tackle the snow and ice. Many first time homeowners may not even be thinking of these things because they just haven’t needed to before. First, have a snow shovel. I would recommend a strong plastic one without metal. This way, you can handle the walks but you won’t gauge up your deck if you’re out shoveling it! If you have a snowblower, make sure you have the oil mix for the gas to run the machine. Also, in case you do have some leaky gutters, you’ll want some ice melt to keep from slipping outside the door.
Caulking/Seals – This almost goes without saying. Make sure to caulk around windows and door frames when the weather permits so you don’t lose valuable heat. Of course, this helps in the summer too. Drafts and air leaks are a major factor in energy consumption.
Furnace- Inside this winter feels so toasty and warm…ah but don’t forget the work horse that provides all that heat. Make sure to change the filters monthly and it would be a good idea to have a furnace service performed by a professional if you haven’t for awhile. With the home all closed up it is important to know there are no gas leaks or carbon monoxide leaks.
Fireplace – If you have a fireplace in your home, it can be a great source of heat and of course, wonderful ambiance in the home. But the fireplace can be dangerous if it isn’t working properly. If you have a gas fireplace, have it serviced every few years to make sure it is burning right, not gas leaks and safe. If you have a wood burning fireplace, make sure the flue or chimney are clear and working fine. Again, a professional can take care of this to make sure al is well for you this winter.
Garage Fridge – Ok, this is one of those bonus home maintenance tips for winter that I’m going to give you. If you have a fridge out in the garage, like I do, and it isn’t specifically made for outdoors, like mine, then when it gets really, really cold out there you may want to check it. Often the temperature in the garage can get much colder than the fridge is built for and the food inside can start to warm up and melt. I know that I have had my garage fridge do this a few times when it gets that cold. Of course, a good solution for those frozen foods is to just take them out and have them stay frozen outside! 😀
I hope some of these simple tips can help you stay mindful of the little things that can help prevent bigger problems for you at home this winter. As always, if you need help with your next move please get in touch.