Depending on where you live in the country, winterizing your home may mean different things. In Southern California, where surfers are still riding the waves in the middle of January, preparation may only consist of closing the windows more often. However if you’re on the East Coast, or certain areas of the Midwest, winter is serious business. And every year, it’s important to check on areas of the house that may be susceptible to wear and tear from the extreme cold. Taking time to winterize your home can help you avoid unexpected expenses and accidents.
Heating. Most likely, your heat sources have been in hibernation for several months. It’s important to check that the thermostat is working properly, and if it’s an older model, you may want to think about replacing it with a programmable version so that you can set it to lower temperatures when you’re not in the home to save on heating bills.
For furnaces, replace filters and check ductwork for debris. Also run a check of the pilot light, making sure it’s lit and run the blower to check that the air is coming out hot.
Before lighting that first fire of the season, take a look at the chimney for anything that may be blocking the flue, and clean up any ash build-up. Also make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order and tested monthly.
Check your doors and windows for drafts and place towels or bolsters to block the cold air from getting inside.
Your Roof. You actually never know what could be up there (leaves, branches, pests, birds) – add to that a nice heavy layer of snow, and your roof could start sagging from all the added weight. While you’re up there, check and clean the gutters, and eyeball your roof for any minor repairs you may be able to make, to save yourself from major repairs down the line. For any roof inspections or repairs, use a sturdy ladder and work with a partner who will spot you and keep an eye out for potential safety hazards.
Pipes. Frozen pipes have been known to wreak havoc on an otherwise peaceful winter. Avoid surprises by insulating water lines, and keeping the taps open a little bit so there is a slight, constant drip. During especially cold spells, try keeping the cabinet doors under the sink open to let in the warm heated air.
Following a few of these easy maintenance tips may help you have a fun and stress-free winter – with more time for playing in the snow!