Win­ter home main­te­nance tips

Lesotho Times - - Property -

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

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