It seems that winter weather turns even the most social of us into “homebodies.” There is just something so inviting about going from the crisp and chilling air outside into a warm home! Before you can settle in with peace of mind, there are certain household maintenance tasks that must be done to winterize your home and keep it a cozy and relaxing place to be! I have seen too many problems arise in homes because these are overlooked or forgotten.
- Have your furnace inspected. It is helpful to hire an HVAC professional to make sure your furnace/boiler is fully functioning before the coldest weather hits. They will inspect your burners, contacts, and sensors, and replace your filter to make sure it will see you through the winter seamlessly.
- Clean your gutters. Dirty and full gutters are more of a hazard than many people realize. If there are leaves and debris left in them to trap water, when the temperatures drop below freezing, you may be left with a damaged roof and shingles. If you prefer not to pull out the bucket, ladder, and gloves yourself to do the dirty work here, there are great professionals in our area that would be glad to assist!
- Detach your garden hose. This one is key! It is a simple step that can save you many a headache from damaged hoses and water pipes! Turn off your outdoor spigots and store your hoses in a dry and warm place, ensuring that any water left in them won’t freeze.
- Hire a chimney sweep. A lit fireplace is one of my favorite scenes on a cold winter day! Our fireplaces provide a place of gathering and warmth each holiday season, so let’s not neglect chimney maintenance. There is a potential fire hazard here, so this is definitely a step to be taken seriously. Professionals would say that if you use your fireplace regularly, it should be inspected each year, but if you only use it sporadically through the winter months, inspection every three years would be sufficient.
- Insulate exposed pipes. Check for any water pipes along the outside of your home or in an uninsulated part of your house (especially basements or crawlspaces). You can find pipe insulation at one of our local hardware stores and wrap the pipes yourself. You simply cut the insulation to fit the length of the pipe and secure it with duct tape as needed. It may not be the prettiest, but it’s probably in a place that won’t be seen often, and it is worth it to not have bursting pipes to tend to through the winter months!
The holiday season holds so much nostalgia. Although life is constantly changing, there is comfort in the consistency that we know the holidays bring with them. I hope these tips are helpful in providing a safe and peaceful winter for each of your households, and helps “unlocking new doors” go smoother in the year to come.