Winter home maintenance tips
AS winter nears, make sure your home is prepared to withstand another season of cold temperatures, driving winds and icy conditions.
The maintenance that you do today can help prevent more costly emergency repairs, when it can be difficult to find supplies and licensed contractors.
Following are five important categories to focus on for this winter:
Your heating system Before you give your heating system a workout this winter, take the time for preventive maintenance. It may help extend the life of your system and identify potential problems.
Before winter: your furnace or boiler checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year, preferably before the heating season begins.
or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
your chimney checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year. Pay particular attention to having creosote buildup removed for chimneys servicing woodstoves and fireplaces.
During winter: your fuel tanks filled and keep an eye on levels throughout the winter.
your heat no lower than 55 degrees as the temperature inside the walls where water piping is located is colder than the living spaces; open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.
your wood-burning or pellet stoves according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Your insulation doors and caulk windows to guard against drafts and heat loss.
screens from windows, and install storm windows.
Your utilities Freezing temperatures can be especially damaging to your home’s water piping. Make sure your pipes are adequately prepared to withstand a cold snap and remember to take extra precautions if you are going to be leaving your home, including shutting off your water.
for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in Ul-listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics. Use only thermostatically controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic and follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions.
how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.
Your winter safety measures snow can drain properly. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
steps and handrails to make them safer in the ice and snow.
smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries to ensure they are operating properly.
Cover outdoor furniture. If you have a grill, keep a good cover on it as well as on any other outdoor furniture. Snow or cold can damage wood over time, metal will eventually rust, and plastic can harden and crack.
Seal gaps where critters, bugs, and cold air come into your
home Take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find. Use caulk to seal small gaps near the foundation of your home, or around windows.
A heavy-duty screen or hardware cloth works well to cover exterior vents, allowing air to escape but preventing critters from seeking warmth in your home.
Inspect exterior walls If you have a painted exterior, check for any cracks or blisters in the paint surface. This is a sign that a new coat of paint is needed. If left unchecked, that failing paint won’t protect your home, opening you up to much costlier repairs in the future. — Travelers
the maintenance that you do today can help prevent more costly emergency repairs