The winter season can be hard on houses. That’s why it is so important to prepare ahead of time to protect your home from the freezing and wet weather that often accompanies the cold season. This little bit of preventive maintenance can save you money and headaches during the long winter months.
Tip No. 1: Protect Pipes
Freezing temperatures can cause pipes to crack. Once that happens and the pipes thaw out, they will leak water which can lead to bigger issues such as structural damage and mold. To help prevent this from happening, insulate any pipes that are either outside or in uninsulated areas of the house, keep the heat running, and disconnect water hoses from outside faucets.
Tip No. 2: Check Seals on Windows and Doors
Cold air will leak in through gaps in the seals on windows and doors. To keep the cold air out, repair any problem areas in caulking and apply weatherstripping around windows and doors on outside facing walls.
Tip No. 3: Clean the Fireplace and Chimney
If you have a fireplace that you use regularly during the winter, it’s important to have it checked and cleaned annually before using. With wood-burning fireplaces, a buildup of creosote can cause a house fire and cracks in the fireplace or flue can lead to drafts. Gas fireplaces also have risks associated with use. Also, any blockages in the chimney can cause issues when lighting a fire.
Tip No. 4: Prevent Ice Dams
Ice dams form on the edge of the roof when water melts on the upper, warmer regions of the roof and then freezes on the lower, colder regions. Ice then forms around the eaves which keeps water from draining, leading to a backup of water behind the dam. This can cause leaks and permanent damage to walls, insulation, the roof, and ceilings. To prevent ice dams, increase attic ventilation, add insulation, seal all air leaks, and remove snow as quickly as possible from these areas.
Tip No. 5: Check Hot Water Tanks for Issues
Start by checking to make sure there are no cracks in the hot water tank. Then, flush the tank to remove any sediment that has built up. If you live in particularly cold areas, consider wrapping the tank in an insulated blanket to keep it from freezing.
Tip No. 6: Check the Heating System
You will need to keep the heat running when the temperature drops – even when away from home – to keep things from freezing. So it’s critical to ensure your heating system is in proper working condition. Different heaters require different maintenance procedures, so be sure to follow the instructions in the owner’s manual for your particular system.
Tip No. 7: Protect Entryway Floors
The constant tracking in of snow, ice, salt, mud, and water can wreak havoc on floors. Keep them safe and dry by placing floor mats both inside and outside of the main doors into the house. Place a shoe scrubber and shoe racks at all entries so you can keep shoes off the floor while they dry.
It may not seem like much, but by doing just these few small things at the start of and throughout the winter season, you can protect your home from the harshness of winter.