Winter is the season we spend the most time indoors and at home. Take care of your biggest investment, your family and your wallet this winter by following these quick tips on home maintenance and safety.
Take Care of Your Heating System
Your heating system runs constantly throughout the cold winter months so it is important to keep it well-maintained to prevent needed repairs and also keep your system running efficiently.
- Remember to change out your HVAC filter each month. Replacing HVAC filters is crucial to keeping your air clean. Filters clean out pollutants such as molds, skin cells and allergens.
- Check the gas connections, gas pressure, burner combustion and heat exchanger to ensure safety and efficiency. Improper connections are a fire hazard and a dirty burner or cracked heat exchanger causes poor burner operation.
Conserve Precious Heat
Proper insulation of your home is critical to ensure proper heating and conservation of heat to make the most of your heating costs this winter.
- Inspect the insulation in your attic and crawlspaces. Warm air rises and leaves the house through the roof, so focus your insulation efforts on your ceilings and attics. Areas around recessed lights, the attic hatch and plumbing vents should be sealed as they commonly are the main issue in allowing warm air to escape your home.
- Storm windows help heat stay in and cold stay out. If you’re on a tight budget and do not already have storm windows, pick up an inexpensive plastic film sheet kit from your local hardware store. These only last one season, but help with insulation efforts. Weather-strip all doors that lead to cold or outside areas.
- Close curtains or shades at night and keep them open during the day, especially in rooms that receive a lot of light and sun. Re-arranging your furniture like couches, chairs, tables and beds away from any exterior walls makes your home seem warmer by putting some distance between you and the cold air. This also leaves room for the air to move around better, making it warmer.
The cold and snow of winter can create hazardous conditions. Take a moment to plan ahead and prepare your home and family for the worst of what winter can bring.
- Stock up on sidewalk salt and sand (for better traction) and apply generously to all walkways and driveways at the first sign of slick conditions.
- Check your snow shovels for cracks or other damage. Have a backup shovel just in case. When shoveling, push the snow in front of you, if possible. If you need to lift a shovel-full of snow, pick up small amounts and lift with your legs, not your back. Do not toss snow over your shoulder or off to the side.
Outdoor home care does not end when winter comes. Even in the cold weather months, your yard still needs maintenance to keep your home safe.
- Make sure tree and shrub branches are well away from the house and windows. Ice can cause branches to break and damage your home.
- Walk around the outside of your house and do a scan. Check the foundation for small cracks or openings where mice or other pests can sneak in. Seal up any possible entrances to keep these critters out. While outside, clear any snow accumulation off gas meters and away from basement windows and your dryer exhaust vents.