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While you enjoy sipping hot cocoa in your snug home this winter, wearing thick wool socks and cuddled next the fire in a favorite fleece blanket, your home will be working hard to protect your family from the cold. Harsh winds, ice, and snow leave your home vulnerable to weather-related damage if proper preventative measures are not taken. Our ten tips for winter home maintenance will help ensure that your home remains cozy and dry.
Every season calls for a certain level of home maintenance, but winter maintenance proves particularly important. Before the harsh weather hits, take advantage of each of the following tips.
Winter usually brings plenty of rain, sleet, and snow, all of which can overflow gutters–especially if they are clogged with fall debris. Taking time to clear gutters of fallen leaves and twigs allows water to drain properly, You’ll thank yourself if you do this at your leisure on a crisp sunny day, rather than in an emergency when it’s raining buckets of icy sleet.
The purpose of a sump pump is to protect your home from flooding. To test the pump, fill the sump pit with enough water to raise the float until the pump kicks on. If you’re filling the pit and the water level gets near the top of the pit, but the pump doesn’t activate, you may have a bad switch. If the pump does activate, it should lower the water level in the pit, removing almost all of the water.
Unsealed doors and windows typically result in a high heating bills. Even minor drafts allow cold air into your home, putting undue strain on the HVAC system. Properly sealing doors and windows prevents cold air from getting in and warm air from escaping.
If you have a basement, check the liners by any window wells. Liners can become separated from the window and allow excess moisture to enter from the soil through cracks. Often, window wells are the source of basement flooding, so make sure you thoroughly inspect them before cold weather hits.
No one likes cold showers–especially in the middle of January! Inspecting the water heater tank in your home for cracks can help you avoid this unpleasant scenario along with an even worse one–that being a potential flood if the tank were to burst. Take it from someone who woke up one Sunday morning to a finished basement covered in 2″ of water; a regular check of the hot water heater is a simple measure that can save you time, money, and a big, messy headache.
Did you know that a dryer vent is one of the biggest fire hazards in your home? You should clean the lint trap after every load of laundry, and perform a thorough cleaning of the entire vent at the beginning of each season. Simply remove the vent and clean any wayward lint or debris from the area; such a simple yet often overlooked maintenance must!
A fireplace inspection will verify whether or not your home’s fireplace and chimney are clean and unobstructed. Since the chimney provides the most important source of ventilation, this prevents both fire and health hazards (carbon monoxide poisoning).
Likewise, a professional furnace tune-up prevents unexpected breakdowns from occurring and certifies that your system is safe to operate. You should have your HVAC system inspected annually (or semi-annually, if your home is air-conditioned) to ensure everything is running smoothly.
If you’ve ever had to deal with frozen pipes, you know it’s not a trivial matter, even if they’re on the exterior of your home. Avoid bursting pipes by weatherproofing them with insulating tape or foam covers. Opening cabinet doors overnight during extremely cold nights (below zero temps) will also help keep under-sink pipes from freezing.
Covering and storing patio furniture and decor during colder months will help lengthen its life-span. Moisture and repeated freezing/thawing can weaken the integrity of the structures, as can accumulating dust and dirt.
Do you want to build a home from the ground up with ease of maintenance in mind? At Sheffield Homes, we have more than 40 years of experience to help guide you through the home building process, every step of the way. Call us today at 303-420-0056 to begin planning your custom home in the Denver metro area or in northern Colorado.