As you get ready to face the harsh conditions that winter brings, consider preparing your home too. The winter season can be unforgiving, and the cold temperatures cause a myriad of issues in your home, ranging from leaky roofs to frozen pipes that can burst. If you live in the northern states, you may already have a list of precautions to take during these cold months, but you can never be too careful. Here are 7 tips to add to your winter home maintenance checklist to protect and maintain your home.
1. Get Your Home’s Heating System Inspected
Experts are of the opinion that you should get your furnace checked by a professional once a year. This is especially applicable before the onset of the winter months to ensure that your heating system runs smoothly without a hitch.
A professional will check for any underlying safety issues and also perform a maintenance routine. Different heating systems require different areas to be prioritized, so here is a list of areas that you need to check out depending on the type of heating system you own:
Boiler: You should conduct monthly boiler inspections for signs of leakage. A professional will check your wiring, venting system, heat exchanger and ensure the water’s pH levels are in the correct range during an annual inspection.
Heat Pump: An annual inspection of your heat pump is ideal for optimal functioning. If you have an outdoor heat pump, it should be away from shrubs, greenery and falling snow.
Gas Furnace: A professional will check your vent system for any blockages or leaks. All your burners should be igniting properly, plus any drainage systems or hoses should be checked for leaks. You should also replace your filter during this time.
2. Clean Your Gutters
Trees nearby can fill your gutters with debris and leaves. Even trees that don’t shed their leaves every year tend to leave lots of debris due to strong winds. You can easily clean out your gutters with a small rake. You can hire a professional if you are wary of heights. If your gutters are too full, water won’t flow properly, and excessive rainfall may cause flooding and damage your foundation and siding.
3. Winterproof Your Interior
You can make additions to your home interior to keep heat from escaping outside. Doors and windows allow heat to escape, so caulking and weather-stripping can prevent this scenario. It also prevents water from seeping into your home and helps you save on your energy bills.
Keeping your home’s heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system regularly serviced can prevent any unexpected breakdowns. Consider installing a generator for emergencies to keep your essential appliances and systems running in case of power outages.
To keep your basement dry – first, check the drains inside your home for any debris that could eventually clog them. By cleaning them regularly, you can prevent unexpected flooding. Melted snow can quickly trickle into your basement through cracks in your foundation. To keep this moisture from flowing indoors, seal these openings before the first snowfall. If moisture spills into your basement and sits for too long, you may eventually notice water damage on your ceiling, walls, and floor.
4. Keep Your Pipes From Freezing
Your pipes can burst from exposure to cold air and cause major water damage. Fortunately, you can adopt a few measures to make sure that this doesn’t happen. You can add insulation to your pipes. In case you are going out of town, you can set the thermostat at 55 degrees and open your cabinets having plumbing so they can get warm airflow.
5. Check Smoke and Carbon monoxide Detectors
We usually keep our doors and windows shut during the winter months to keep out cold air. This measure restricts fresh airflow in your home and can build-up to harmful gasses like carbon monoxide.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating caused 27 percent of the structural fires in winter months. As a precautionary measure, ensure that all the smoke and carbon detectors are in proper working order.
6. Check Your Sump Pump
Your sump pump keeps your basement dry during the wet months. The usual lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years, and you can make sure that it runs efficiently by periodically getting it looked at by a professional. You can test your sump pump during the winter by adding a couple of gallons of water in the pit to ensure the pump turns on.
7. Check Your Home’s Electrical System
The very last thing you’d want is your electrical system to fail during winter. This is why it is important to run an electrical maintenance check before the cold weather approaches. Try checking the main service panel for sparking or inspect the breaker wires for any discoloration or bad insulation. These signs act as indicators for any repair or replacement. You can also use a multimeter to test the power flow through electrical circuits. If you suspect any problems, contact an electrician.
Checking all the appliances and systems in your home and performing preventative maintenance can help you enjoy your winter without any unnecessary worries. Another easy step you can add to your winter home maintenance checklist is to get a home warranty policy.
When it comes to winter home maintenance – wall cracks can be scary because due to wall cracks, there is a chance of water seepage – that can lead to some serious mold problems. Wall cracks are usually a sign of foundation movement, but they don’t necessarily mean there’s structural damage. In other words, a foundation can move slightly and cause a wall crack, but that doesn’t mean there’s any structural damage requiring foundation repair.
A home warranty policy provides an extra layer of protection to your home’s major appliances and systems. When they break down due to normal wear and tear, your home warranty company either repairs or replaces the item. Leading home warranty companies like Select Home Warranty, American Home Shield, etc., also provide exceptional customer service. To know more about home warranties, visit homewarrantyreviews.com.