Home Concerns to Check Twice This Winter
For many homeowners, home maintenance may be an after-thought during the holiday season– but neglecting it could result in costly repairs later down the road. Below, we’ve made a list of some common household problems for you to check twice this winter.
Warming Up Safely
As the temperature starts to drop, many of us are turning on the heat, supplementing our heating with space heaters, lighting candles, or a fireplace. You want to make sure you are taking the right precautions for each heating source in your home, as home fires are more likely in the winter months. Start by making sure your smoke detectors are in working order and have reliable batteries. You should be keeping any flammable materials such as paper, clothing, bedding, and rugs at least three feet away from any space heaters, fireplaces, stoves, and candles. For any heating sources with open flames, make sure not to leave them unattended and keep them out of reach of young children and pets.
Prepare for the Storm
If you’re in an area where you experience heavy rain, snowstorms, cyclones, and blizzards – you know it’s important to be prepared for them before it’s too late. Heavy snows, ice, and even rain can take down power lines and leave you in the dark and cold. It’s a good idea to get a generator if you don’t already have one, as it will be able to keep your furnace running until the main power is restored. Stocking up on batteries, food, and winter supplies such as warm coats, blankets, and shovels should be in an easily accessible spot in case of emergency. If you live in an area prone to a lot of snow, it’s a good idea to mark the sides of your driveway and other key pathways with reflective markers to help yourself and snow plowers see where to go.
Roof and Gutters
Winter weather can be very hard on your home’s roof. Snow, ice, strong winds and rain can create several problems for your roof if you are not properly maintaining and taking care of it. For example, icicles are usually a pretty sight – but they can be dangerous for people, pets, and your roof. Icicles are often the result of clogged gutters and downspouts. Icicles can be surprisingly heavy and it could cause damage to your gutter and roof, not to mention the potential danger and liability if it fell on someone/something. It’s a good idea to check out your roof’s shingles for leaks and clear out the gutters before the real winter weather sets in. Also, if you haven’t already, be sure to check on your roof’s flashings, as it should be checked every six months to make sure heavy storms have not pulled the flashings loose.
Keep it in the Home
Air leaks in the home during the winter can cause uncomfortable drafts and basically make your heating system inefficient, while also driving up your energy costs. Thankfully, resolving air leaks in your home is a fairly simple fix that doesn’t require any expert assistance or elaborate maintenance work. If you don’t know where the leak is coming from, the most common-sense starting point would be looking at the doors and windows in your home. There are many ways to test air pressurization, but one of the easiest and cost-effective ways involves placing a dollar bill under your door or window. If you can easily remove the dollar bill without any resistance, that’s a sign that those spaces need to be sealed tighter. Less obvious culprits of air leaks could be outlets, switch plates, vents, basement foundation, and attic hatches. If you have sealed all of these spots and you are still having issues, you may need to replace with newer, higher quality parts or have a professional inspect your home. If you want to learn more about making your home more energy efficient, click here.
Prepare for Unexpected Furnace Repairs or Breakdowns
Even with a properly maintained furnace, some mechanical failures are unavoidable, especially with older units. To avoid being left in the cold this winter by an unexpected breakdown, make sure your home is covered by a Choice Home Warranty for peace of mind all winter long.