“Winter is the time for comfort, for good food and warmth, for the touch of a friendly hand and for a talk beside the fire: it is the time for home.” — Edith Sitwell. Fall is fading away, and winter is arriving at our doorsteps. The coldest season of the year has many exciting features, activities and holidays like snow, skiing, Christmas, New Years’ and Valentine’s Day. Before starting the festivities, you need to make sure your home is ready to take on the season. That is why we created this winter home maintenance checklist.
Check Your Gutters
No matter the season, you should always check your gutters. Your home’s gutters keep water from hitting your house. Uncleaned gutters get clogged with leaves, branches, dirt and water. These items can cause your gutters to break and attract pests like termites. In the winter, if your gutters are not clean, then everything in them will freeze, which can break them. To avoid this from happening, you need to clean them right before the weather gets bad.
Test Sump Pump
A sump pump prevents condensation buildup, flooding and water from damaging your drains. Before winter truly hits, you are going to want to check it and test it to make sure it is working. If you do not do this, you may end up with a flooded basement and foundation issues. First, you are going to check the exit pipe for any clogs. If you do notice one, remove the obstruction. If you have a dual cord pump, unplug it and then plug it back in. If you hear a humming sound, then it is working fine. If not, you will need to fix the area. For homeowners that have a single cord pump, you are going to pour 20 liters of water into the pump pit until the float rises. Once it rises, it should turn on. While it is on, make sure it is pumping water correctly. The pump will turn back off once the water drains.
Clean Dryer Vents
Clogged dryer pipes and vents are a huge fire hazard. Over 13,000 fires per year in the United States happen due to dryers. To avoid this situation, make sure to thoroughly clean your dryer vents before and after using them. Cleaning involves removing all the lint and debris that may be stuck inside. And for fire safety and prevention tips, check out this guide we created.
Seal Leaky Doors and Windows
Doors and windows that have spaces allow air inside your home and can bring in the weather that you are trying to keep out. Either with weatherstripping or caulk, you are going to seal all your leaky doors and windows. Just by doing this task, you can reduce energy costs in your home by at least 30%. If you do not know if you have leaky doors or windows, work with a home service company to help you determine if you do and to help you seal them.
Weatherproof Exterior Pipes
Once the weather hits freezing temperatures, everything, including water in your exterior pipes will freeze. And if you decide to turn on these faucets, they can burst and cause flooding inside or outside your home. To avoid this from happening, you are going to insulate or weatherproof all your exterior pipes before snowfall hits.
Prepare for Snowstorms
If you live in an area that gets a lot of snow, then you need to prepare not only yourself but your home as well for snowstorms. Many of the steps listed in this checklist will help you prepare your home for these storms, but there are a few other things you need to do as well to get everything ready to go. From stocking up your pantry to insulating your pipes, we have a guide on the best ways to prepare for snowstorms.
Bring in Plants, Pets and Other Objects
The cold is a deadly thing if living things continue to stay out there. You do not want your plants or your pets to freeze to death, so you will need to bring them in during the winter months. For more help on understanding how to take care of your plants indoors, check out our indoor gardening guide. And if you worry about your dogs ruining your house, check out our guide on how to dog-proof your home. Other objects that you know can obtain damage or rust in the snow, either cover them or bring them inside as well.
Reverse Ceiling Fans
To save money on heat during these cold months, many home experts recommend reversing your ceiling fans. Reversing your fans stops the warm air from rising. You will need to turn your fans clockwise to make this happen. So how do you do this? There is a switch on your fan that allows you to change the direction its blades go.
Seal All Holes and Cracks
Just like sealing your leaky doors and windows, you are going to want to close up all the holes and cracks that you have in and out of your home. The smallest of holes and cracks let the cold in. To fill in these areas, use caulk or foam. For more help, work with a home repair contractor to get the job done right and quickly.
Keep your home protected this winter by following the checklist we have above. And, if you ever need help with any of these tasks in Belleville, O’Fallon, Edwardsville or the surrounding areas, contact Valor Home Services today.