While most of us are likely already dreaming of sunny and mild spring days, we still have quite a bit of harsh winter weather to deal with for a few months. Even if you have already given up on your 2022 New Year’s resolutions, don’t neglect the upkeep of your family’s home.
The winter season has the potential to cause damage to your home. With its harsh temperatures, brutal winds, and snow/ice storms, it’s no wonder that this is the time of year when a lot of homeowners insurance claims are filed! Fortunately, there are a few simple things the average homeowner can do to keep their home properly cared for and ready for the worst-of-the-worst when it comes to what Mother Nature may throw at us during the remainder of this season.
Tip #1: Schedule a maintenance appointment for your furnace.
Time and time again in our blogs, we remind homeowners that they need to schedule yearly maintenance appointments for their heating system. We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to not neglect regular tune-ups for this vital home appliance. That’s when a trained professional will carefully clean and inspect your heating system. If a potential problem is detected, it can be taken care of before resulting in a total breakdown of your furnace (perhaps on what feels like the coldest day of the year!).
Also, the experienced technician conducting your annual tune-up may help make sure that your heater is running safely. This means that they will check for any potential natural gas or carbon monoxide (CO) leaks, which could be deadly if left undetected. For furnaces that operate on electricity, wiring will be inspected to check for any signs of fraying or damage that could lead to a fire.
The technician won’t leave your home until he or she is confident that your unit is operating as safely and efficiently as possible to keep your family warm and toasty for the remainder of the winter season.
Tip #2: Check the outside of your home.
You may have already had several snow or ice storms hit your home this season. If that’s the case, now is the time to head outside and check for any potential damage. Be sure to look at your roof — any damaged or missing shingles should be replaced as soon as possible so that water from melting snow or ice doesn’t infiltrate your roofing panels and cause deterioration, or even mold growth.
You should also look at your gutters and downspouts to be sure nothing has been bent, cracked, or damaged in a way that would prevent proper moisture flow off the roof of your home. If precipitation, in any form, can’t be transported away from your roof via the gutters/downspouts, it may pool up and eventually spill down the sides, leading to damage to your siding — and ultimately to your foundation and the structural integrity of your entire home.
Along with your roof, gutters, and downspouts, look at your basement window wells. Make sure that they aren’t full of leaves and other outdoor debris as this could cause melting snow/ice to build-up in this area, as well. If this happens, the moisture may seep in through your basement windows and cause damage.
Tip #3: Seal window and door frames.
If you’ve noticed that your home has felt drafty, the problem could be that there are gaps in your window and door frames. You can check for these gaps by running your hand around the perimeter of the frames. If you notice any areas where cold air is getting in, these are the spots that will need to have extra sealant or weatherstripping added.
Not only will properly weatherstripping your windows and doors help keep your home warmer and prevent uncomfortable drafts, but this will also help prevent heated air from your furnace from escaping and making your furnace work overtime to try and maintain a temperature.
Weatherstripping materials can be purchased at your local hardware or home improvement store.
Tip #4: Have your chimney inspected by a professional.
If your home has a fireplace, now is a great time to hire an experienced chimney sweeping service to inspect your chimney. These professionals can detect blockages which may prevent proper air flow while your fireplace is in operation. A blockage here could prove to be quite dangerous because it could lead to a fire in your chimney, which could shoot back into your family’s living space.
Any obstructions could also trap deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas inside your home. This gas is colorless, odorless, and undetectable unless you have a CO detector. Inhalation of too much of the gas could lead to serious health problems or even death.
Tip #5: Restock your winter weather emergency kit.
If you don’t already have an emergency kit prepped for your home, there’s no better time than now to prepare one. Already have one? Be sure to restock supplies you may have used up or which may be expired — such as prescription or over-the-counter medications, ointments, batteries, etc.
Your emergency winter weather kit should include:
- Candles (either standard or battery-powered)
- Portable radio to check for news and weather updates
- Spare batteries
- Enough canned or non-perishable food items, and clean drinking water, to last several days for your family — and a can opener if the cans don’t have pull tabs
- Extra blankets and cold-weather clothing in case you are without heat for a while
- Power bank(s) to charge cell phones, laptops, and tablets
- Stocked first aid kit (bandages, gauze, pain reliever, thermometer, tweezers, sterile gloves, etc.)
Want more homeowner tips?
Be sure to visit our blog often for the latest tips, tricks, and advice for keeping your family’s home in tip-top shape during every season! And if you need help with furnace maintenance, we’re here for you with our affordable Heating Maintenance Plan. When you’re enrolled in this plan, you’re entitled to an annual tune-up appointment for your home’s heater. No need to search online to try and find a reputable heating service provider when we’ve got your back!