Staying cozy inside your home with a fire going sounds a lot better than having to bundle up in snow gear to brave the cold and prepare your home’s exterior for winter. However, maintaining your home during winter will help you avoid expensive repairs, improve your home’s efficiency, and prevent unwanted surprises.
Annual Winter Maintenance Tasks
Weatherproof your windows and doors
Leaks and drafts from your windows and doors are often the biggest culprit of heat and energy loss during the winter. Weatherstripping or caulking your windows and doors will help prevent cold air from seeping in, lower your energy bills, and keep you and your family more comfortable during the winter months. Try using draft stoppers or draft snakes to reduce letting cold air in. Bubble wrap can be used to seal up windows that aren’t used, such as attic windows.
Have your chimney cleaned and swept
It is important to clean your chimney regularly to remove any build up of harmful creosote. Creosote can be dangerous and is highly flammable with the potential to cause a house fire. A blocked chimney or flue can also increase the amount of carbon monoxide in your home. Hiring is a professional to handle your chimney cleaning is usually the route to go for this task.
Clear out your roof and gutters
Cleaning your roof and clearing out your gutters is essential during the fall and before winter hits. Any dirt or debris left in your gutters can freeze resulting in clogs and backups. Blocked gutters can also lead to melted snow and ice to collect causing ice dams to form. Large icicles are a good indication of an ice dam so be on the lookout. Ice dams are a pain for any homeowner and will eventually lead to interior leaks and severe damage to your roofing system if not handled right away. It is crucial to ensure your gutters are working properly by directing water and melted ice away from your home.
Check and change your furnace filter
Keeping your filter clean and changing your furnace’s filter regularly throughout winter ensures your air remains clean and dust free. It also helps keep your home safe from possible fires and decrease allergens in your home. Make sure to have a professional inspect your furnace every couple of years. Consider cleaning your air ducts as well.
Insulate and prepare your pipes
Properly insulate your attic and other areas like your garage. There is always the possibility of your pipes freezing and bursting during the winter. Disconnecting hoses from any outdoor faucets and insulating pipes near exterior openings to protect them from the cold. Any pipes in the basement or garage will also need insulation to prevent freezing. Keep the inside of your home above 55 degrees Fahrenheit to prevent any indoor pipes from freezing.
Prepare a winter storm kit
Minnesota experiences a lot of winter storms. Preparing a winter storm kit in case of a power outage is a great winter safety precaution for you and your family. Here are some items you would want to include in your winter storm kit:
- Lighter or Matches
- Food and Bottled Water
- First Aid Kit
Remove snow from sidewalks and driveway
Shoveling snow and removing ice from walkways, sidewalks, and driveways is crucial for the safety of you, your family, and others. Slipping and falling is never fun especially if results with an injury. If you use a snowblower, watch out for large debris and rocks.