The most important step in preparing your home for winter is vigilance. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute. You will be glad you minimized issues before they even appeared. It is always best to try and stay ahead of home maintenance. Especially with the busy holiday season, it will be hard to find time to take care of your to do list. Get it done in the fall, so you can enjoy the winter!
EXTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE
1. Make sure the roof is in good shape.Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. Inspect for missing and loose shingles.Rain and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm. For safety’s sake, have a licensed, certified roofing professional check the condition of your roof.
2. Install storm windows and doors and remove screens.
3. Check foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house, and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping. “Caulking and sealing openings is one of the least expensive home maintenance jobs, openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold build up.. A careful check of the outside structure combined with inexpensive home maintenance can save you money in the long run.
4. Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings, peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future.
5. Clean out the gutters and downspouts after leaves have fallen. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
6. Weather-strip your garage door. Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.
7. Trim trees. Look for any dead branches and take care of those, as they are the riskiest one when storms come, they can break and cause a lot of damage. Store firewood away from home to prevent infestations by termites and other insects
8. Have your chimney inspected and cleaned to prevent fire hazards. Have the flue tested for a tight seal when closed.Check for any soot or creosote buildup, as this can be a potential fire hazard.
9. Examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary. Hire a professional to winterize your pool. Store chemicals. Lay the pool cover over it to protect anyone from taking a winter swim.
10. Clean, cover, and store outdoor furniture
11. Drain, and turn off sprinkler system.
12. Fertilize the lawn with a high phosphorous mix to ensure healthy grass in the spring.
INTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE
13. Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill. Air leaks from windows and doors are easy to find by moving your hand around the frame. Apply weather stripping and caulk to these areas. These things can end up paying for themselves.
14. Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Or Get your woodstove and fireplace in working order. Examine your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal.
15. Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
16. Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and keep extra household batteries on hand.
17. Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover in order to prevent rusting of vital parts.
18. Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.
19. Maintain clean drains by adding one-half-cup baking soda followed by one-half-cup white vinegar. After 10 minutes, flush with boiling water.
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(all data current as of 10/19/2019)
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