Cold weather is right around the corner, and with it comes freezing temperatures, ice and snow, and the need for winter home maintenance items to be checked off your list. We’ve compiled a list of five easy ways you can tackle winter home maintenance items and save yourself the cost of hiring a contractor – not to mention the savings you’ll enjoy from avoiding potential issues down the road.
Install Weather Stripping
Around every door and window brings the risk of air leaks. And any place air can get in, so can water from melting ice and snow. Avoid increased heating costs and water damage in your home by installing weather stripping. While your home may have come with weather stripping already, it’s something that wears out over time and is necessary to replace every so often.
Other places around your home to check your weather stripping and install new if needed are:
- Places where plumbing pipes enter or leave your home
- Around vents and fans
- Surrounding window AC units
- Areas that gas and electrical lines enter or leave your home
- Mail chutes
Insulate Your Water Heater
When discussing winter home maintenance, it’s always a good idea to think of how the colder air might be affecting your appliances in the home. Water heaters can become less efficient with colder air surrounding them, especially if they’re located in an unfinished basement. The good news is, insulating your water heater is as easy as buying and installing a pre-cut insulation jacket, and you can typically find them for around $20. Just make sure you measure the height and circumference of your water heater before purchasing.
Clean Out Your Gutters
When we think of our gutters in regards to winter home maintenance, it can be easy to overlook this simple task because the leaves aren’t falling during the months it’s below freezing. However, if you don’t clean out your gutters before the cold arrives, blockages can occur when things freeze. Once a blockage is present, it opens the door for melting ice and snow to find its way inside your roof or it can flood your home’s foundation, causing major issues that you certainly want to avoid.
Insulate Exposed Pipes in Your Home
Did you know a burst pipe can cause more than $5,000 in damage to your home? Avoid costly repairs before winter arrives by insulating any exposed pipes you find in your home. Hardware stores have insulated sleeves for pipes that make it quick and easy to install yourself, and they’re sure to add a little something extra to your peace of mind. Check under sinks, where plumbing enters and leaves your home, and under the main floor of your home if you have an unfinished basement.
Going out of town and don’t want to risk your pipes freezing? Make sure to keep your your thermostat set at 55 degrees or higher.
Reverse Your Ceiling Fans
Avoid increased heating costs this winter by adding a simple task to your winter home maintenance checklist: reverse your ceiling fans. In the winter, warm air can become trapped at the ceiling as heat rises. By switching the direction that your fan blades rotate, that warm air will be pulled back down, helping to maintain comfortable levels of heat in your home and driving down energy costs as your home’s heating unit will be required to work less.
In order to reverse your ceiling fans, simply find the switch located on the base of the fan. During the winter, you’ll want to make sure your fan blades are rotating in a clockwise fashion.
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