10 Winter Home Maintenance Tips

Posted by Libby Zimmerman on Wednesday, January 13th, 2021 at 9:36am.

1. Replace Your Furnace Filter

Air filters play an important role in keeping your HVAC system clean. That’s because it is designed to keep dust, debris, and airborne particles out of your furnace. During the winter, when you rely on your heating system more and your furnace is in constant use, the filter needs cleaned more. Changing the filter in your furnace is critical for the appliance to work efficiently, so not replacing the furnace filter can cause problems. Be sure to keep up a schedule of changing the air filter at least every three months. Doing so ensures that your furnace will stay clean and run smoothly when you need it most.

2. Clean Ducts and Vents

If your air ducts are dirty then the air circulating within your home will be dirty as well. And during colder months we spend more and more time indoors breathing in this dirty air. Cleaning your ducts and vents will help minimize the dirt in the air of your home and is especially important in the winter months, when the house is shut up tightly against the cold winter air.

When it comes to your dryer vents, most people do not realize how important cleaning your dryer vent is. Dryer fires increases as the temperature outside decreases. During the winter months, bulkier clothing and bedding can produce more lint, clogging up the vent and trap. So make sure to clean your lent trap located right inside the dryer as well as the vent hose attached to the back of your dryer.

3. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors 

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is a leading cause of house fires. So take time to make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly in your home. The National Fire Protection Association recommends homes should have smoke alarms installed inside every bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement. So that means a 2 story, 3 bedroom house needs a minimum of five smoke alarms. Be sure that home maintenance includes checking the batteries in all alarms once a month! Click here to view NFPA's Heating Safety Guide

4. Prevent Pipes from Freezing 

Here are a few to help prevent your pipes from freezing this winter. Let faucets drip, running water through the pipe, even at a trickle, helps prevent pipes from freezing. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate around the plumbing. Make sure to keep garage doors closed, this one is especially important if water supply lines go through the garage. Keep the thermostat consistent and set the heat to at least 55 degrees when you aren't home. Open interior doors to keep your home at a consistent temperature. 

5. Avoid Ice Dams 

In freezing conditions, ice dams can form at the edge of your roof. They prevent melting snow from draining properly. The water can leak into your roof and cause damage to ceilings, insulation, and walls. Ice dams can form when heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, apart from the eaves. This melts the snow on the warm parts of the roof, but it freezes on the cold eaves, which forms the dam. The melt-water from the warm part of the roof backs up and flows under the shingles into the house. To prevent ice dams from forming, keep the entire roof at the same temperature. To do this, increase ventilation and add insulation. Make sure to seal off every possible air leak that might warm the underside of the roof.

6. Seal Windows and Doors

If you haven't already make sure you inspect your doors and windows for cold air leaks. Leaks can lead to substantial heat loss and could run up your electric bill pretty quickly. So, be sure to enhance the insulation around windows and doors with weather stripping and fill cracks and gaps with caulk.

7. Check your Fireplace and Chimney 

If you regularly use your fireplace as a heat source, be sure to have it professionally cleaned. Consider having the chimney cleaned by a chimney sweep before using it to ensure your home’s safety. Make sure to clean out any unburned pieces of wood and ash from the fireplace itself. And remember to check for cracks and debris such as leaves or birds nests in the chimney as these things could be potentially hazardous. 

8. Clear Gutters

If you haven't already, clear out your gutters. While it isn’t a fun job, it can save you money in the long run. Well maintained gutters can reduce the need to replace them, and the chance of roof damage. A clogged gutter can overflow and break, putting strain on the roof itself. It can also fill with ice, which will cause thawing damage and strains the guttering.

9. Protect Entryways 

Snow, ice, salt, and mud can be very damaging to your floors. In order to keep them safe, place floor mats on the inside and outside of your door. You should also keep wet and dirty shoes off of the floors. Instead, keep them on a mat or shoe drying rack.

10. Reverse Ceiling Fans 

If you have ceiling fans, there should be a switch to make the fan blades run clockwise. Running the blades in a clockwise position during the colder months can push heated air down. This makes rooms with high ceilings more comfortable.

Thank you for taking the time to read our 10 Winter Home Maintenance Tips. We hope this article was helpful in some way! 

 

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