For many homeowners, “home maintenance” conjures up images of spring-cleaning and summer work in the yard. But you should also be setting aside time during winter to do very specific home maintenance tasks that will keep your property safe and sound. These don’t have to be major fixes, but if done properly they can end up saving you money in the long run by helping with energy bills and repairs.
Here are the top winter maintenance tips for homeowners:
One of the chief problems homeowners have each year comes in the form of heating costs. A relatively easy fix is to improve the insulation in your home. If you can keep the cold air out and the hot air in, you will not have to run your heating unit as much, which means reduced heating costs.
First, make sure that all your doors and windows are properly insulated and will keep out cold air. Use caulk and weather stripping to make sure they are sealed as tightly as possible. Don’t forget to venture up into the attic and add extra insulation, particularly along the roofline and any exposed pipes.
Speaking of your pipes, a huge emergency expense that many homeowners face in the cold weather months is their pipes bursting. To avoid this, be sure to not only add extra insulation, but you can also let both hot and cold water drip from your faucets at night when the temperature is expected to dip below freezing.
If your pipes do end up freezing, you may be able to fix them yourself if they’re located under your cabinets. Open up the cabinets and let the warm air from your house heater circulate through the space. If you live in an area where you may have to do this regularly, it’s a good idea to relocate your dangerous cleaning supplies from under the kitchen cabinet so you can keep them out of the reach of children and pets. You don’t want to have to move these items every time the weather gets cold.
The lifeline of your house during the winter will be your heater. Before the temperatures start to drop, have your heater and chimney/fireplace properly inspected and serviced to ensure they are safe and running efficiently. If you have a wood-burning fireplace or stove, begin stockpiling wood for the winter. Also, space heaters can be a great addition for warmth, but they come with serious dangers, particularly with fires. Make sure you have the latest models with safety features, that you use these sparingly and only under proper supervision.
During severe winter weather, you never know when you may be stuck at home for an extended time with no power. Create a winter-weather kit that includes bottled water (both for drinking and cooking), canned food, flashlights, blankets, a first-aid kit, battery back-up for your cell phone (for emergencies) and, if you have a portable generator, extra fuel to run it.
Winter can be a beautiful time of the year, but it can also take its toll on your home and your wallet. By taking the time to do basic maintenance, you can ensure that your home and your family will be ready for the winter months.