Yes, it’s cold outside, but your home needs attention in the winter just like it would during the spring and summer months. Now that the holidays are behind us, we can focus in on keeping our homes safe, warm, and energy efficient. A well-maintained home is more likely to make it through winter problem-free.
Exterior & Yard Care
Your yard and exterior of your home need attention during winter months. Aside from shoveling, there are other chores to do outside the home during winter. Make sure branches from trees or shrubs are kept away from the house to avoid damage when ice forms. Check your roof for loose or missing shingles, or ice dams. You also want to make sure there are no cracks or openings around the home’s foundation or other areas such as doors. Pests will try to seek shelter where it is warm, and if you have an opening they will attempt to make your house their home. Any openings will need to be sealed. When snow falls and piles up around your home, make sure you clear it off of your gas meter, away from basement windows, and away from dryer exhaust vents.
Pipes that are located in attics, crawl spaces, basements, and near outer walls are prone to freezing. These pipes should be properly insulated to help prevent freezing, but if the forecast calls for an extreme drop in temperatures and you know you have pipes that are likely to freeze, let the water drip from that faucet overnight. You may also want to open the cabinet doors to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes for that sink.
HVAC filters need to be changed every month during the winter. Your heater will be running almost constantly during these cold months, so mark your calendar as a reminder to change the filter regularly. Heat rises, so check your attic to make sure none of the heat you are paying for is leaking into the attic through your ceilings. Seal any openings and apply more insulation where needed. It is also important to make sure the attic is properly ventilated.
Drafty windows are a common problem in the winter. If your windows are not double-paned, be sure to take out the screens and put in the storm windows. If you can feel cold air coming in from the windows, purchase plastic sheet kits at your local hardware or home improvement store. These kits are highly effective and commonly used for the winter season.
Winter storms can cause power outages and snow-ins, so take the time to prepare your family for such emergencies. Recommended items to have ready in your home include: flashlights, bottled water, nonperishable food items, blankets, phone numbers of utility companies, battery backup for the computer and other important electronics, first-aid kit, and a generator with available fuel.
Reference: State Farm