Now that you’ve stored the lawnmower, you can relax and unwind by the fire with your family…
Not so fast! Even when old man winter pulls into town, you need to perform routine maintenance to protect your investment and maintain your comfort.
So what exactly should you do around this time of year? Fortunately, your list of responsibilities is a little shorter. But make sure to cross the following nine winter maintenance items off before you go into hibernation.
1. Keep Sidewalks And Walkways Clear
Do you enjoy spending your time in the courtroom? Your answer is probably “no.” Depending on your municipality, however, you may be liable for an accident if you fail to clear your sidewalk and someone slips and falls. Invest in a shovel and keep your walkways clear.
This maintenance protects your safety, too. If you live on a hill, you might find it impossible to enter and exit your car safely if you park in the driveway. You can find relatively inexpensive heaters for outdoor stairways and landings to prevent accidents while carrying in groceries. Add one near your vehicle.
2. Seal Any Cracks Where Cold Enters
When was the last time you checked your weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows? If you leave cracks unsealed, you may as well throw your money away. You’re letting precious heat escape.
Fortunately, you can perform this maintenance task even if you lack carpentry skills.
3. Get A Leg Up On Pest Control
Many people think it’s enough to use just a spray in the warmer months when pests appear. But when you hold off on pest control, you fail to interrupt the breeding cycle. This can lead to a more severe infestation down the road.
Continue monthly pest control services even when you don’t see any creepy crawlies, whether you do it yourself or call in a pro.
4. Clean Out Your Chimney
What’s better than cuddling up with your sweetheart in front of a crackling fire? If you fail to maintain your chimney, you might not get to relax for very long.
Chimney fires are hazardous and cause structural damage that you must then replace. Have your chimney inspected at least once a year and hire a sweep when necessary.
5. Inspect Your Foundation For Cracks
If you have cracks in your foundation, water can enter your home. Eventually, your foundation may crumble entirely. To prevent irreversible damage, inspect your foundation by walking the periphery of your property.
Take note of any cracks you see. Small, vertical cracks may occur during settling, but any horizontal lines or cracks larger than 1/16 of an inch is cause for concern.
6. Clear Out Your Gutters
Clogged gutters can cause water to accumulate on your roof instead of running off — and this buildup can cause structural damage over time. Water can seep through the tiniest cracks, damaging walls. You could develop black mould, as well.
At the end of the fall, clean out your gutters. If you have a two-storey or taller home, you may want to consider calling in a professional. If you opt to DIY, always protect yourself with safety gear like a helmet to protect your head if you fall.
7. Replace Your Air Filters
You can avoid many costly HVAC repairs by changing your air filters regularly. If you don’t have central air conditioning, you may have changed these less often during the summer months.
Now that you’re indoors more often swap these out every month. You might need to do so more often if you smoke or have multiple pets.
8. Protect Your Pipes
Are you leaving for the holidays to visit relatives? If so, make sure that you protect your pipes before you go. Frozen pipes can burst and cost thousands in water damage, but you can prevent them with insulation.
You should unplug outdoor hose bibs to prevent freezing and leave faucets dripping. It’s better to pay a slightly higher water bill than come home to a disaster.
9. Reverse Your Fans
You want to draw warm air up from the ceiling during the wintertime, so reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades.
This procedure takes only a few seconds — most models contain a small switch on the side of the unit.
Perform These Winter Maintenance Tips to Protect Your Investment
Even though your chore list should pare down this time of year, you still have work to do. Take care of these winter maintenance tasks before you settle down and get cozy.
Dylan Bartlett blogs about health and wellness on his site, Just a Regular Guide. Follow him on Twitter @theregularguide for frequent updates on his work!