When fall gives way to winter, it’s exciting to wear your favorite sweaters and curl up by the fireplace. In between watching holiday movies or making savory stews, be sure to take steps to ensure your home is as ready for winter as you are.
Check out a few preventive maintenance tasks to plan for this winter. They’ll prep your home for freezing temperatures and blustering snowstorms. You’ll never have to worry about emergency repairs when you use these tips to prepare your home for months of cold weather.
1. Clean Window Wells
If your home has a basement or crawl space, you likely have a few window wells encircling the foundation. They’re typically half-circles around small windows that keep soil away, but if ignored, they collect debris and can result in flooding.
Clean these winter wells before ice freezes everything in place. You should also test the liner if you have one and replace it if it’s loose.
2. Clear Your Gutters
Gutters can hold onto leaves and sticks after storms, freezing into place during the first winter cold front. If you don’t clear them of debris every few months, ice will build up and damage your roof.
Prevent long-term repairs by clearing your gutters whenever the ice melts down your drainage pipes. Check whether yours are well-maintained or in need of replacement to keep your home’s roof and foundation safe.
3. Remove Dryer Vent Buildup
You clean the lint filter in your dryer, but what escapes will collect in your home’s vent. Examine the exterior walls of your house to check for this vent, which usually flaps while your dryer runs. Use a wet paper towel to collect all the lint between and behind them.
Every year, this buildup causes 2,900 house fires because it’s the perfect source of kindling. A quick cleaning will make your family safer and help your clothes dry faster.
4. Check Your Garage Door
You use your garage every day, especially during the winter. It might house your yardwork supplies or shelter your car from snowstorms. Even though you haven’t worried about your garage in past winters, you should check the door to ensure it works even in freezing temperatures.
Noise is the first warning sign of garage door problems. The sound will indicate the specific issue, like rusting or stripped gears. A professional will know how to get the door back to normal so you don’t have to worry about frustrating winter malfunctions.
5. Seal Window Leaks
Older homes that have stood through years of weathering might increase your electric bill. The sealant around your windows will chip and peel away with time, allowing cold air to seep into your house and force your HVAC unit to heat your home continuously.
You can check for these leaks by turning off your ceiling fans and HVAC system. Hold a candle around the edges of every window and watch the flame. If it flickers, you should apply new sealant to that spot. You’ll preserve the heat inside your home and prevent further damage caused by ice melting and freezing inside the small cracks.
6. Inspect Your HVAC Unit
The last thing you need this winter is to go days or weeks without heating. Don’t let a simple fix break your HVAC unit when you need it the most. During your next free afternoon, inspect your HVAC system for strange sounds, clogs of leaves and loose electrical connections.
Call a professional if anything seems wrong and you don’t know how to fix it. They can check your unit twice a year so it never breaks during the coldest mornings or snowiest nights.
Schedule Routine House Inspections
Now that you know a few preventive maintenance tasks to plan for this winter, add them to your to-do list. When you look over things like your HVAC system, gutters and dryer vents, your house will keep you safe and happy through the cold season.
Additional routine house inspections by professional teams allow you to focus on enjoying the holidays and starting the new year on a positive note.
About The Author: Evelyn Long is the editor-in-chief of Renovated, a magazine for home improvement and décor advice. More of her work can be found on Twitter.
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