As days grow shorter and temperatures fall, we begin to realize the summer’s over, prepare your home for winter. Taking a few minutes to walk around your home is highly recommended. Visually inspect important systems from a safety perspective. In addition, make note of routine maintenance chores that need attention. These winter home maintenance tips are a great way to get started, but a good winter maintenance checklist can help a lot.
Winter Home Maintenance Tips
Clean gutters and downspouts
A clogged gutter or downspout can freeze and wreak havoc on your home. Make a point of checking your gutters and downspouts well before daytime temperatures dip below 32º F.
Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors using the testing feature on each device. Replace batteries and inoperable units as needed. Carbon monoxide poisoning and home fires make this one of the more important winter home maintenance tips to be aware of.
Check Fire Extinguishers
Recharge or replace fire extinguishers. Furthermore, check the gauge on every fire extinguisher to make sure it’s fully charged. The arrow should be pointing to the green area of the gauge. Remove each extinguisher from its mounting bracket. Turn the extinguisher upside down to help prevent the dry chemicals inside from caking on the bottom over time. Have your fire extinguishers professionally inspected if they are more than one year old.
Check furnace vents
If your home has a forced air furnace, check to make sure that vents in primary living areas are open and unobstructed. You can partially close vents located in less frequently used rooms, but don’t close them all the way unless you’re sure there is no chance of water pipes freezing as a result. Keep in mind that temperatures inside the walls of your home will be lower than adjacent living areas.
Stock up on furnace filters
Dirty furnace filters waste energy. They also force your furnace to work harder to heat your home. Your owner’s manual should explain what types of filters are best for your furnace. It will also tell you how often they need to be changed. Keep in mind that a high-efficiency air filter will trap more dirt than a conventional filter. As a result, it may need to be replaced more frequently to keep your furnace from overheating.
Check heating system
Schedule checkups for all home heating systems. Regular maintenance can helps keep furnaces, wood stoves, chimneys and other home heating components in top working order. Experts recommend that you schedule an annual inspection by a qualified professional for each system. However, service intervals may vary from one system or manufacturer to another. So, play it safe and check your owner’s manual or contact heating system manufacturer for guidance
Inspect Weather Stripping
Replacing worn out weather stripping around windows and doors can dramatically increase your home heating costs. Weather strips are easy to replace, and should pay for themselves in a very short time.
Check your home insulation
Inspect the insulation in attics and crawl spaces. Over time, fiberglass insulation panels sagging away from rafters, joists and wall cavities, allows cold air to penetrate your home. Use duct tape to re-seat a small problem area, but extensive sagging may indicate a moisture problem. Try to determine the source of this problem before you replace large areas of insulation. And, if you decide to replace the insulation yourself, make sure you follow manufacturer guidelines for personal protective equipment. This is also a great way to remodel your home to save energy in general.
Protect exterior water valves
Cover hose bibs located in an unheated garage or on the outside of your home. This will aid in preventing freezing damage. Inexpensive insulating covers work well, but it’s still a good idea to shut off and drain the water supply.
Summer’s over, prepare your home for winter season or face unpleasant surprises.