Whether you just purchased a home or are working towards taking that big leap, home maintenance is a major key towards successful home ownership and your home’s longevity. Year round tasks and repairs can seem never ending but once organized by monthly upkeep checklists can alleviate a lot of the stress and confusion. The harsh winter, along with its friends- ice and snow- can be punishing but with a few simple steps you can prevent major damage to your property and reduce utility costs at the same time.
- Go to the store, any store, and get weather stripping. Seal & insulate your door bottoms, windows, and plug -in outlets. Preventing air leaks and drafts should be step one. Kits for each of these quick projects can be found for under $10 at hardware or big box stores. You don’t even have to brave the elements! Pretend you’re a pioneer in an log cabin if you need to, you won’t regret it.
- Clean out your gutters– or pay a handyman or your brother-in-law if you don’t want to shimmy up the ladder. Extra weight, leaves and ice alike with do damage so make a call or drag out your snow pants. Melting ice and snow need an escape route, don’t let it be your ceiling.
- While you are clearing out gutters take time to check out the roof itself. Preventing ice dams and checking ventilation will also save you time and lots of money in the future. Proper ventilation allows cold air into the attic, while the insulation seals heat in your living areas. This can help prevent warm air from melting ice on the roof, leading to possible damage. They even make roof rakes if you prefer land to the air.
- Trees– Trim or prune back any trees or foliage that hangs over your property. Heavy frozen branches can cause extensive damage and no fun to deal with once the additional weight gets packed on as water freezes. Only 1 inch of ice is equivalent to five pounds of pressure per square foot of roof space!
- Protect your pipes by insulating them from cold air and caulking any drafty areas nearby, if needed. Keep the heat at a minimum of 55 degrees Fahrenheit and allow faucets to drip if the cold snap is particularly extreme, to relieve pressure. Insulation sleeves made up of multiple materials are available at most hardware stores for easy application.
- Have your chimney swept in preparation for the increased usage. Regular upkeep and cleaning are required to ensure that a build up of creosote, or animal nests, don’t initiate a house fire. Have a certified chimney sweep come out to take a look to make sure the chimney works just as well as it looks.
- Protect flooring and walkways at your home from ice and damage from salt exposure. Heavy foot traffic through the winter months complete with melting snow, sand and rock salt is unkind to flooring. To avoid shorting the lifespan of that beautiful foyer make sure to provide waterproof mats for shoes both inside and outside your home’s entryway.
- Check your emergency supplies and food pantry in case of power outages due to weather. Speak with your immediate family and neighbors about meeting places in case of emergency. Just a few starter necessities to consider include: bottled water, shelf-stable foods, flashlights and batteries, first-aid supplies and a hand-cranked radio and smartphone charger.
What tops your winter checklist this year?