With the arrival of cooler temperatures, it’s essential for homeowners to make the proper preparations. Neglecting necessary maintenance could lead to costly repairs and discomfort in the cold months ahead. Addressing these responsibilities ensures a cozy living environment and safeguards your house from potential damages and unforeseen expenses. Here are five home maintenance tasks to prioritize as the weather cools down.
1. HVAC Maintenance
Your HVAC unit directly impacts your home’s comfort, energy efficiency, and overall functionality during colder months. These systems work harder in cold weather to maintain a pleasant indoor temperature. Scheduling regular maintenance with an HVAC specialist and regularly changing air filters ensures your system operates at peak performance while comfortably and effectively heating your home. Upkeep is crucial for all HVAC systems, whether you have a mini split system, furnace, or heat pump.
Proper maintenance also extends the lifespan of your HVAC. Repairs and replacements to your system are a huge hit to your pocketbook, so you need to do what you can to prevent issues. In addition, a well-maintained heating unit improves the air quality of your home. Regularly changing filters and inspecting ductwork reduces dust, allergens, and other pollutants.
2. Clean Gutters
Clearing out your gutters is a must-do to protect your home, especially as the temperature drops. As the seasons change, gutters can easily become clogged with leaves, twigs, and other debris. These clogs can lead to water overflow, damaging your roof and causing costly repairs. In addition, when these blockages stop the flow of water, it can freeze in the gutter and form an ice dam. These could wreak havoc on your roof and cause leaks inside the home, opening up another world of issues.
Gutters are also essential in preventing damage to your home’s foundation. They are designed to channel rainwater and melted snow away from the house. A clogged gutter could lead to water seeping into the foundation, potentially causing cracks and structural issues. Since water expands as it freezes, colder temperatures can only worsen problems. Water overflowing is also bad for your home’s siding and can cause mold and mildew build-up. Cleaning the gutters is often a hassle, but it’s an important preventative measure.
3. Seal Gaps and Cracks
If you want to keep chilly outdoor conditions from creeping into your house, you’ll need to seal any cracks in windows, walls, and doors. These gaps allow warm indoor air to escape and welcome in cold air. This issue leads to higher power costs as your heating system has to work harder to maintain a comfortable temperature. Sealing any openings helps your home stay energy-efficient and comfortable.
To effectively seal any gaps in your home, you’ll need to identify the problem areas first. Inspect your home for cracks by paying close attention to windows, doors, baseboards, outlets, and any area where different building materials meet. Next, select an appropriate sealant based on the location and size of the crack. The most common options include weatherstripping, caulk, foam sealant, and expanding foam. Be sure to clean and dry the areas before applying the sealant, and remove old caulk or weatherstripping if necessary.
4. Clean Chimney and Fireplace
A cozy fire is one of the best ways to snuggle up indoors as the weather takes its seasonal dip. Before you light a fire, cleaning your chimney and fireplace is crucial, especially if you have a wood-burning or gas fireplace. Over time, byproducts of burning wood can accumulate in the chimney. If not removed, the build-up can catch fire and lead to a dangerous chimney fire.
A clean chimney is also vital for proper ventilation. If your chimney is obstructed by debris, smoke and gasses can back up into your home, creating a health hazard and unpleasant living conditions. An inefficiently running fireplace can also lead to the release of carbon monoxide into the home, which is a poisonous, odorless, and colorless gas.
Routine maintenance extends the lifespan of the fireplace and chimney too. Neglecting cleanings can contribute to the deterioration of critical components, which are costly to replace or repair. In addition, a clean chimney prevents lingering odors and smoke stains that can cling to your walls and ceilings. A properly functioning fireplace can allow you to enjoy the ambiance of a crackling fire without concerns of any looming dangers.
5. Winterize Plumbing
Neglecting to winterize your plumbing can lead to a nightmare situation filled with burst pipes and costly repairs. When water inside your plumbing system freezes, it expands, leading to busted pipes and extensive damage. To prevent these issues, you need to insulate exposed pipes, particularly in unheated areas like attics, basements, and crawl spaces.
Properly winterizing your plumbing also supports consistent water pressure necessary for everyday household chores and necessities. Be sure to disconnect and drain outdoor hoses and shut off the water supply to outdoor faucets. In addition, maintain a consistent indoor temperature, especially when you’re away from home. This precaution prevents extreme temperature fluctuations that can freeze pipes.
Preparing Your Home For Colder Weather
The colder months can present unique challenges to homeowners, but proper maintenance can make chilly seasons safe and comfortable. Prioritizing these tasks not only enhances the comfort and functionality of the space but also saves you money in the long run. So make your checklist and ensure your home remains a warm and inviting place, no matter how harsh the winter winds may blow.