Get your home winter-ready with these easy steps
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Whether you see winter as a wonderland of sparkling snow and beauty or a worrisome hellscape of ice and cold, the fact remains — unless you live in the deep South, winter is coming. So you’d better get your home ready for it.
Homes today are built to withstand most normal weather fluctuations, but they do need a little extra TLC before winter hits, just to keep everything in top shape.
Check out these maintenance tips for keeping your home running smoothly all winter:
- Change your air filters — Your heating and air conditioning system have filters that keep dust and pet hair out of the furnace. These filters need to be replaced regularly, depending on what type of filter you use. Some filters are meant to be replaced quarterly, and some are monthly. Keeping these filters clean will ensure your system runs more efficiently and will mean fewer repairs down the line.
- Inspect the furnace — Hire an HVAC specialist to inspect and clean your system before winter. That way you can fix minor issues before they become major ones, and your air conditioner will be ready to purr like a kitten next Spring. An inspection and maintenance usually only cost $100-$300, depending on where you live, which is much better than replacing a furnace in the dead of winter.
- Clean your gutters — Clogged gutters can cause damage to your roof, stucco and foundation. You can do this yourself, but if your gutters are too far off the ground, it might be best to hire a pro.
- Check for leaks — Inspect around your doors and windows for drafts, and seal them up with caulk or weather stripping. Keeping your heat indoors makes your home more efficient and warmer. Caulking is one of the easiest and cheapest home repairs to make.
- Seal your driveway — Fall is an excellent time to repair cracks and put a coat of sealant on your driveway. Make sure the weather forecast is dry for a few days, then get to work. It will help your driveway last longer and look better.
- Touch up paint — Keeping the paint fresh in your home helps it look better longer. You don’t have to repaint the house every year, but fixing little dings in the drywall and covering up stains can help extend the life of your paint. Fall is the best time to do this because the weather isn’t as humid. Paint on the outside of your house protects wood, so if it’s starting to chip, it’s time to fix it. Water can damage your wood and cost you much more in repairs later.
- Seal your deck — If you have a wood deck, now is the time to clean and seal it. Sealing the wood will keep the deck looking good longer and protect the wood from the winter weather.
- Test your detectors — The most important thing is the safety of you and your family so test the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. They can mean the difference between life and death.
- Check the pipes — If you have pipes in unheated parts of your house, such as crawlspaces, you should check the insulation on those pipes regularly. If the insulation isn’t holding up well, replace it. Frozen and burst pipes can be costly, and will usually happen on the coldest day of the year. If you go out of town for an extended time, turn off the water to the house and drain the pipes.
By tending to these necessary home maintenance tasks, you can make sure your house is prepared to withstand a harsh winter and you can ward off potential disaster. The extra work now will make for a cozy, easier winter season.
Courtesy of Paul Denikin