Thanksgiving is a distant memory. Christmas and New Year’s is disappearing in the rear view mirror. The sky is a hazy shade of winter, and depending where you live in the country, shoveling snow is starting to feel like a full time job. It suddenly occurs to you — did I properly winterize my home? Is it time for more cold-weather maintenance?
If you missed a few steps late last year, or were to busy to winterize, it’s not too late for a mid-winter maintenance check! Here’s a few areas you won’t want to skip, a few cold weather tips, and a downloadable checklist to make tackling your winter home maintenance easier.
Why Do I Need to Do Winter Maintenance?
So glad you asked!
First, regular maintenance and cleaning not only helps to increase your home’s value, but can also save you money in the long run. According to Houselogic, a site for homeowners created by the National Association of Realtors, you can lose 10 percent of your home’s total value if you let it fall into disrepair. That can translate to a $15,000 to $20,000 loss.
Second, taking care of your home means more protection for you and your family! Some of the most common causes of home fires involve behaviors that sky-rocket in the wintertime. More time spent indoors, more cooking, and more use of home heating equipment means higher risk of fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
Third, quick tasks like checking the air filters on your HVAC equipment can reduce energy consumption and possibly save you money.
And fourth, staying ahead of home maintenance in the winter will cut back on what needs to be done in the spring!
Home Heating Safety Tips
According to FEMA, heating is the second leading cause of home fires.
Maintaining your home heating and electrical equipment should be done before the winter, but if you missed it, jump on it now. Doing a simple mid-winter check-up not only helps to catch troublesome issues, but also brings you peace of mind.
Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January, and February. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises that homeowners have their heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by qualified professionals, and shut off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed. If you use a fuel burning space heater, make sure you’re using the type of fuel specified by the manufacturer.
Electrical Equipment Safety Tips
You don’t need flames to start a fire. Fires can start when heat builds up near things that burn. This not only includes lamps, but also unattended ovens and dryers with unclean lint traps and vents as well as kitchen cooking appliances.
Double-check the electrical appliances in your house, and make sure your outlets aren’t overloaded. Research from the NFPA revealed that home fires involving electrical failure or malfunction cause about 440 deaths and 1,250
injuries each year — plus $1.3 billion annually in property damage.
To help minimize the chances of a fire, the NFPA suggests only using one-heat producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, or space heater) — plugged into one outlet — at a time. Also, make sure electrical cords are not running across doorways and that hot light bulbs are away from things that burn, such as cloth or paper.
Home Maintenance Checklist
Inside the home
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Perform monthly testing on your security system to ensure it’s communicating with the monitoring center.
- Change the air filter in your HVAC.
- Clean tile grout.
- Check for frozen pipes and plumbing.
- Install monitored water sensors to help prevent flooding.
- Tackle drywall/plaster repairs and painting projects (low humidity helps)
- Set up or adjust heating and cooling schedules on smart thermostats to maximize efficiency.
- Clean dryer filters, vent, and lint traps.
- Clean the inside of your stove.
- Check electrical appliances, outlets, and fuses.
- Have your chimney and fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional.
- Have your furnace inspected by a professional.
- Create or update a home inventory.
- Organize storage areas.
- Create a cold weather survival kit.
- Review and update smart door lock user codes.
Outside the home
- Keep snow shoveled away from your foundation, garage, driveway, and parking spots.
- Check for and remove ice dams and icicles on your roof.
- Check any covered patio furniture.
- Clear debris from your gutters.
- Make sure downspouts and gutters have not been affected by snow and ice.
- Check outdoor security cameras to ensure snow build-up and icicles aren’t obstructing your view.
- Take inventory of your supplies, including deicing salt and spare fuel.
- Trim tree branches away from your siding and windows.
- Wrap/insulate all exterior hose bibs.
- Check caulking around doors/windows for deterioration.
- Inspect concrete patios, driveways, or walkways and fill in any cracks, then apply concrete sealer.
- Put up plastic sheets or weather screens on windows to help keep in heat.
- Make sure ladders are at least 10 feet away from overhead power lines.
- Check that firewood is covered, and move any rotted firewood away from your house.
Plan ahead for spring
Feeling ambitious? Why not start thinking about the warmer months? Here’s a few ideas to get a jumpstart on spring planning.
- Donate any clothes, coats and shoes that are in good shape that you don’t use.
- Create spring and summer project lists.
- Start planning/budgeting for upcoming projects and home renovations.
- Look out for sales on supplies for the spring/summer.
- Plan ahead for spring and summer activities and vacations.
Need help securing your home this winter? Call Guardian at 1.800.PROTECT (1.800.776.8328) for a free quote on professionally monitored smart home security!