9 Winter Home Maintenance Tips
There are things you can do to prevent damage to
your home this winter. If you’re looking to prep for winter, we have you
covered. Here’s our winter home maintenance checklist to get you started.
Winter storms can take down trees or even
structures, but there are other risks as well. For example, when water freezes,
it expands with great force. Preventing your home from this type of damage is
what is important
1. Insulate Your Pipes
your pipes: Insulate pipes in unheated areas to prevent them from freezing and
bursting. Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and shut off the water supply to
water pipes are not strong enough to withstand the transition from liquid water
to ice. Water expands when it freezes with tremendous force that can overpower
most residential pipes. To prevent this, you need to insulate them, especially
at their most sensitive points, which are outside and close to it.
your pipes with insulation if they are within 5 feet of your foundation,
outside walls, or if they are outside of your home, as these areas will have
the highest exposure to the elements. The best part is that this insulation is
extremely cheap and it could save you thousands of dollars and won’t interrupt
your water usage.
to the hardware store and pick up some foam insulation (it will look like a
pool noodle) and wrap the areas that need it most to prevent them from freezing
on heating - you should also insulate your water heater. Wrapping this up will
help your water heat up faster, reduce your energy consumption, and allow you
to access warm water when you need it.
else containing liquid water during the warmer months should be winterized by
removing the water and storing it away. This includes garden hoses and
2. Change Furnace Filters
could save you a fortune on your furnace and utility bill, and it will also
improve the efficiency of your heating system. Changing the filter is easy,
cost-effective, and only needs to be done once or twice a year. Also check your
thermostats, If you have a type that needs batteries check the type needed and
be sure to have them on hand.
3. Sweep the Chimney
too much ash, embers, leaves, and other materials clog your fireplace, it poses
a risk of chimney fires. It could also prevent smoke from exiting the chimney,
meaning that it will only enter your home. You should have your chimney swept
once a year to prevent this from happening.
4. Check Your Roof
your roof and gutters: Clear any leaves or debris from your gutters and
downspouts to prevent ice dams, which can cause water to back up and damage
your roof. Make sure your roof is in good condition and repair any damaged
shingles or flashing.
a roof inspector is a great idea, but if you don’t want to spend that money, at
least give it a thorough look while you are cleaning the leaves out of your
gutters. Get up on the roof (safely) and look for any abnormalities. If you see
anything that concerns you, contact a professional.
additional weight that snow adds onto your roof puts it in a compromising
position that may lead to wear, leaks, or collapse. A new roof can cost well
over $10,000 to replace. Don’t underestimate the importance of checking your
5. Rotate Ceiling Fans
you’ve never heard of this trick, it’s very handy! Heat naturally rises toward
the ceiling, so during the winter, if your ceiling fans rotate backward, it
will gently push cool air upwards, forcing the heated air back down to the
is an especially helpful trick if you have high ceilings, as it can be very
wasteful to heat large spaces when it all goes to the top.
6. Check Your Heating System
and clean your heating system: It’s important to make sure your heating system
is in good working order before the winter season. Have a professional inspect
and clean your furnace or heat pump, and replace the air filter.
sure that your heating system is running at optimal levels. You don’t want to
find out that it doesn’t work on the first below-freezing day of the season, so
if you want to check beforehand, open some windows, turn it on, and check each
outlet to see how they perform.
Never use your
oven as a backup, makeshift heater. It is very unsafe as both a fire and carbon
monoxide hazard, so do not use it as a heater or leave it open for an extended
7. Check Your Detectors
and carbon monoxide detectors are important all year round, especially during
the winter. When you are running your fireplace or any other heating element,
you are running the risk of both starting a fire and trapping carbon monoxide
in your home.
alarms in MA homes have sealed batteries and claim they last for 10 years. My own experience is the Carbon/ Smoke combination
alarms last 5 years, it says it on the package in the fine print. Smoke alarms
that say they last 10 years usually do. If you have an alarm that does use batteries,
be sure to have the type needed on hand.
8. Look Outside
storms in Massachusetts can get brutal, and we’ve all seen downed trees
littering the road. Don’t be fooled. They hit houses, too.
look for any branches or dying trees that are in close proximity to your house,
car, fence, or other valuable property. Intense wind could take out a dying
tree with ease, so if you see something, either cut it yourself (if it’s an
easy fix) or call in the professionals. We have a list of local contractors our
clients have used in the past they have been pleased with. Just call if you
ever need a recommendation.
9. Seal Air Leaks
for drafts around doors and windows and seal them with weatherstripping or
caulk to keep warm air inside and cold air out.
your windows with clear plastic will do the most for preventing heat loss, but
even sealing the cracks around doors, windows and your fireplace will go a long
way. Having a professional do this will yield the best results, but using door
stoppers and some insulation caulk, you could make a big difference on your
own. Don’t forget the basement doors.
will help lower your energy bills significantly, as anywhere from 10% to 50% of heat loss comes
from air leaks, and it will also keep your house warm in the event of a power