Winter is Here: How to Keep Up With Home Maintenance During the Winter
1) Do you feel the wind coming in? Check your door and window for drafts.
With this extra cold weather & snow, take the time to walk around to your doors & windows - do you feel any cold air seeping in? This could indicate poor sealing. A few ways to check include (safely) using a lighter, or an incense stick. Take one, light it, and then hold it about a foot away from the door or window. If the flame starts to flick or if the smoke whirls around instead of rising as it normally would, this means you probably have a crack. You can do a couple of things to fix this – try using caulk to fill the cracks, or purchase & place weatherstripping. Weatherstripping is sold in many different forms & can be bought from your local home improvement store. Sealing those cracks will help you save on your winter energy bills and keep you and your home warm.
2) Check for frozen pipes – inside and outside.
Frozen water doesn’t care what type of pipe you - metal and or plastic pipes – it doesn’t matter. When water freezes, it expands and this causes pipes to crack and burst. Take advantage of this cold weather and check any visible pipes to make sure there is no frost or any cracking or expansion. But the pipes that are most susceptible to freezing are your outdoor water valves and pipes. One way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to add insulation. You can add pipe sleeves, heat tape, or even allow your water to run a little to help keep your pipes from freezing.
3) Tis the Season for checking your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms.
During the wintertime, our homes & heating systems are running at full capacity – whether that be a central heating system, a space heater, or a fireplace, it’s important to make sure your CO detectors and smoke detectors are functioning properly. Fall and Winter bring an influx of home fires, with the majority starting in the kitchen and being caused by heating sources. If your smoke alarm is beeping, that could be a sign to replace the batteries or replace the unit.
4) Clear Driveways and Walkways – it is your Responsibility!
It’s every homeowner’s responsibility to clear your driveway from snow and ice. This is important for 1) you and your family’s safety but 2) the safety of anyone using your driveway or sidewalk. The last thing you want is an injury on your property because of your negligence. Once you have finished shoveling the snow or clearing it with a snowblower, be sure to apply salt or a deicer, and be generous! Ice build can still occur even if the snow has been removed.
5) What are “Weeping Windows” and How to Spot them.
Do you ever look at your windows and notice they are starting to fog and form condensation? This is called “Weeping Windows” and there are a couple of different reasons this problem is occurring! It may be an excess of humidity, faulty windows, or poor ventilation. If you notice this problem, it is important to investigate because weeping windows can lead to mold and that can compromise the structure of the window. The quickest way to resolve this issue is to buy a portable dehumidifier and place it in the areas you notice the most condensation. But the best step you can take is to call an HVAC professional to install a furnace integrated dehumidifier.
6) HVAC on Overdrive - The Importance of Proper ventilation.
The winter months typically mean we are spending less time outdoors and more time indoors – this is especially true in these times of working from home & staying inside because of the rising COVID-19 cases. Our HVAC systems are working double overtime and it can be easy to forget that now is the most important time to replace your furnace filters! Second to changing your filters is making sure you are having proper air circulation in your home. One way to check this is to go to your kitchen or bathroom exhaust fans and hold up a tissue. If the fan is pulling in the tissue, then it is doing its job and removing moisture from the air.