Cold weather is coming…

It's time for winter home maintenanceChilly nights and cold winds are on their way. Are you and your home prepared to face the onslaught of wind, rain, snow and ice?

It’s winter maintenance time

Before settling down with a chill defying cup of hot chocolate and a good book it’s an excellent idea to take a look at the following areas in and around your home.

On the outside—

  • Examine your foundation inside and out looking for cracks or damage. Take a few pictures of any issues you find. Chances are it’s too late to do anything about it now. But having pictures to compare with next spring could prove invaluable. You’ll be able to see whether, or not, you actually have a problem.
  • Make sure all entrances to your crawl space, if you have one, are blocked to prevent any animal, big or small, from taking up residence there.
  • Wrap any exposed plumbing pipes with heat tape. This little step can save you a lot of time, money and heartache.
  • Check all electrical cords, plugs and outlets for your Christmas lights and make sure they’re in good working order. If they’re warm to the touch, replace immediately.
  • Check that all drain spouts are facing away from the house to prevent seasonal flooding.
  • It’s time to clean and put away all lawn furniture and winterize your barbeque.
  • Shut off any exterior faucets, drain and put away any hoses, and if you have an underground sprinkler system it’s time to blow out the lines.
  • Inspect any decks for decay, bug damage, or deterioration and fix where needed—winter is hard on decks especially where there is room for water to enter and freeze.
  • Clean away any leaves, pine needles or other debris from between the boards of any wooden decks—this will help in the fight against mold, mildew, and rot.
  • If they aren’t already up now’s the time to hang your Christmas lights and make sure everything is working well.
  • Check any outdoor handrails to make sure that all is secure and ready for winter use.

On the inside—

  • Make sure all heater vents are clear of obstruction. Remove vent covers and vacuum any visible dust.
  • Replace the furnace filter before turning on the heat.
  • Have a sump pump? Now’s the time to make sure it’s in good working order for the months ahead.
  • Now’s also a good time to install a programmable thermostat if you don’t already have one. Doing so can save you a considerable amount of money—especially if you lower the temperature by a degree or two during the day and possibly even a little more during the night.
  • Drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank. (Check the owner’s manual if your not sure how to do this.) This will help control sediment and maintain the tank’s efficiency.
  • Check the gauges on any fire extinguishers you own. Recharge or replace as necessary.

Around the house—inside maintenance for winter

  • Clean faucet aerators and shower heads
  • Clean kitchen exhaust fan filters
  • Check plumbing shutoff valves by turning on and off a few times
  • Clean out the dryer vent duct

Vacuum the following:

  • Bathroom fan covers
  • Fire and smoke detectors—dust and spider webs can prevent them from working properly
  • The radiator grille on the back of your fridge

When winter hits—

  • Examine windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. Make a note to repair or replace come spring.
  • Examine the attic for frost accumulation.
  • Check roof for ice dams or icicles. Make a note of these as well.

And… Now… Relax—

You’ve done all you can to prepare for winter. Sit down, put up your feet, grab that book and cup of cocoa and R-e-l-a-x.