Whether you enjoy the sight of a snow-filled winter wonderland, or the mere mention of ice chills you to your core, winter is approaching fast. In these colder months, your home should be warm and welcoming against the harsh weather. However, winter maintenance problems can cause significant damage to your home and require costly repairs. Before settling into the winter season with hot chocolate in hand, make sure you take some time to review your home to prevent small problems from growing into large ones.
Here are 8 winter maintenance tips to keep you warm this winter:
Do a check of your HVAC system. HVAC is an acronym for “heating, ventilation, and air conditioning,” and in the winter, it’s a crucial part of keeping warm. Make sure that your HVAC system has a clean filter; this will keep pollutants out of the air. Also, check to make sure that all of your HVAC systems are working properly to keep them from overworking and breaking down. Finally, the area surrounding your furnace should be clear of clutter to allow heat to spread more easily and to prevent fire hazards.
Keep your roof clean and sealed. Heat leaking out through your roof runs the risk of leading to ice dams, which can severely damage your home. An ice dam forms when snow melting on your roof has nowhere to drain. When the water re-freezes, it damages your roofing shingles and opens up your home to water damage. Prevent ice dams by keeping your roof clean and your gutters clear.
Let your faucet drip. When it gets below freezing, you run the risk of having your pipes freeze. When ice forms in your pipes, it forces the piping to expand, which turns into leaks and water damage. However, running water freezes less easily, so when the temperatures drop, let your faucets drip to save your pipes.
Insulate your pipes. Another way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to insulate them. Pipes in areas that aren’t typically heated — such as your garage or basement — are especially prone to freezing, so focus your attention there. Additionally, consider disconnecting or turning off outdoor pipes you don’t use during the winter.
Check your chimney. Nothing warms the house in the winter months quite like a fire, but you should check your chimney for any blockages. Soot and creosote can build up and cause blockages which turn your fireplace from a warm respite from the cold into a fire hazard. Keep an eye out for any rust or white stains on your chimney too, since those can indicate mold growth.
Seal leaks in your windows and doors. Leaky windows and doors are some of the primary culprits in losing heat during the winter. As it gets colder, check your weatherstripping and caulking to ensure no heat escapes your home; sealing leaks in your home will also help keep your electricity bill in check!
Be ready to clear away snow from walkways. Snow and ice can be major walking hazards around the home and yard, so make sure you’ve got the supplies to remove them both. Set aside a space in the yard for snow, and stock up on salt and de-icer before bad weather hits. Also, be ready to replace any wet welcome mats in the home; when wet, they become slippery and dangerous to walk on.
Prepare an emergency kit. Even with all of the preparation in the world, things still go wrong from time to time. In the event of a major power outage or similar accident, have an emergency kit on hand to stay warm and safe. Be sure to include things like flashlights, batteries, potable water, non-perishable food, blankets, jackets, first aid supplies, and a crank radio.
Take the time to prepare your home for the cold now, and you’ll keep warm all winter long. At Quality Air & Heating, we’re here to help you keep your heating and plumbing systems in tip-top shape, no matter the weather. Contact us today, and schedule a consultation!