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Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Here in the Carolinas, winter snow isn’t always an issue. Still, as the seasons change, there are things to be done around your home. Keep your investment in tip top shape with this winter home maintenance checklist.

Heat is the first consideration. You’ll want to ensure that your heating system is in working order. One way to do this is to invest in a HVAC maintenance plan. The goal of these plans (often paid in monthly installments) is to prevent costly repairs. To avoid you having to deal with costly repairs and unexpected downtime, your HVAC company schedules your system for regular tune-ups. These plans can also make you a priority for the company if something does go wrong.

The type of check will depend on the heating system:

  • Gas furnace — identifying any leaks or blockages in the vent system, hoses or drainage systems
  • Boiler — an annual inspection looks at the heat exchanger, wiring, and venting system, and ensures correct water pH levels
  • Heat pump — along with inspection of the pump, make sure the pump is free of leaves, snow and clear of any encroaching vegetation

A fireplace may be another way to heat your home. This is the time of year to get your chimney inspected and your fireplace cleaned. You don’t want to ruin your cozy night on the couch by starting a fire and having your living room fill with smoke.

Overall, you want to keep your home heated to at least 55 degrees to ensure pipes, which are colder in the walls, don’t freeze. It’s also a good idea to “open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.”

Get the ladder out

You’ll also want to get up there and clean your gutters of all the leaves that might have fallen. You may not think there is enough debris in there to justify climbing up the ladder, but you want to make sure the gutters are clear for heavy rains or snow. Blocked gutters can mean overflow which damages the home exterior or interior.

While you have your ladder out, take it inside to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You’re more vulnerable to a gas leak in the winter when the air is dry and your windows are tightly closed against the frigid air outside.

You’ll also want to reverse your ceiling fans to run clockwise. This change in direction forces the rising warm air to return down to the living area.

Check for escaping heat

No one wants to be paying an energy bill only to see the heat escape the house. That’s also not energy efficient at all.

“The Energy Department estimates that you can reduce your heating and cooling needs up to 30 percent by properly insulating and weatherizing your home.” In a Washington Post guide, the top trouble spots to check included:

  • Ceilings, walls, floors and access hatches (31%)
  • Ducts (15%)
  • Plumbing penetrations (13%)
  • Fireplace (14%)
  • Windows (10%)
  • Doors (10%)
  • Fans and vents (4%)
  • Electric outlets (2%)

You might try the dollar test to confirm your weatherstripping is doing its job. Close the door or window and position a dollar across the weatherstrip.  If it falls out, the gap is too large. If you can’t pull it out, the weatherstripping is stopping air leakage or infiltration.

If you have a pet door, insulate that too to avoid letting air in and out with Fido or Spot.

Walk the land

If you’re living in a city townhome, this may be a short walk. No matter where your home is located, get outside and survey your property for any potential threats. Snow and ice put a lot of weight on trees and plants. Look for any vegetation that is leaning or rotten branches; these could jeopardize your home or power lines.

Again, as we suggested in the previous checklists, you want to survey your roof for any damage too. Ensure that your driveway, walkways, and stairways to the house are in good condition too. Repair any broken handrails and fill any holes as they can cause falls in slippery weather.

You’ll also want to turn off any outside water faucets and pipes and clear the lines of water to prevent leaks.

While you’re out there, clean out your dryer vents too. Removing build up can help cut the risk of a dryer fire and improve energy efficiency.

Protect your winter home

Winter weather is only growing more erratic. A single heavy storm can cost more than $1 billion in damages (not to your one home of course). With this winter home maintenance checklist, you can protect your house and improve your energy efficiency. Learn more today about our high-quality homes.

Saussy Burbank

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