The winter can be harsh with the roof over our heads – not just the roof, but the surrounding four walls as well. We must take some precautions and avoid certain mistakes when repairing and maintaining our homes, lest we make things worse.
These are common mistakes you should avoid, and while some of them are misguided actions, some of them boil down to neglecting something important – which can be just as bad.
“Only I can change my life. No one can do it for me. – Carol Burnett
Avoid stacking firewood too close to your outside walls
Lots of bugs see firewood as a perfect little home during cold winter days, so if you stack them too close to your home, it makes them go: “Why live out here when I can live in there?
And now you have some bugs moving in with you.
Keep firewood a bit further away from your house and always inspect them before bringing it indoors to avoid these unexpected guests.
Water damage can be dramatic during winter
If you EVER see any sort of dripping or damping on the walls, it sort of becomes a thing you have to investigate urgently.
The thing is, water damage is already a big deal, but during the winter it can get pretty serious. With the possibility of freezing pipes, it increases the chances of clogging and bursting them, which is a massive headache for any homeowner.
If you ever see a leaking pipe or dampness on the walls, call a professional to investigate. The sooner you make the call, the easier it is to fix the problem before it gets worse!
Protect outdoors faucets and hoses
Disconnecting any hoses from outdoors faucets should be the first step, as it’s easy and quick. But then, it’s important to also protect your outdoor faucets with at least a faucet cover, but ideally with insulation on outdoor pipes to prevent them from freezing and compromising your entire plumbing.
Don’t forget your carbon monoxide detector
The main danger of carbon monoxide is that it’s completely silent and odorless, meaning you could suffer the symptoms of poisoning way before realizing the cause. And since during winter we mostly stay indoors with everything closed, the risk becomes even higher.
The solution is simple enough: just make sure your carbon monoxide detector is in working order!
Get rid of icicles
Icicles are a trademark winter attraction around the house after those frosty nights, but while they can look beautiful, you shouldn’t underestimate the risk they pose to your home’s safety.
Icicles that break and fall can cause property damage (especially on cars!), create slippery surfaces, or even indicate a potential ice dam on your roof – which we’ve discussed here!
Use a humidifier
Indoor air can get really dry during the winter, since we rely a lot on heaters and HVAC systems to keep a steady temperature. The thing is, not only is dry air bad for your health over extended periods, it also feels colder.
If your HVAC system has no way to humidify the air, you can rely on a small humidifier to keep the house warmer and more comfortable.
Use a programmable thermostat
The beauty of a programmable thermostat is that it can save you a lot in energy bills over the course of the year. You can do this by adjusting a thermostat manually as well, but naturally this means you’d have to tweak it constantly. A programmable thermostat just makes your life easier all around, since you can program a comfortable temperature for when you’re home, but keep it running at a lower temperature when you’re away.
And yes, it’s advisable to leave it on even when you’re away. This helps in preventing walls and pipes from freezing during the time you’re away, and also means you’ll arrive home to a much more comfortable temperature without wasting tons of unnecessary energy.
Replace your filters
If you’ve been reading content on winter home maintenance, it might seem like asking you to “replace your filters is beating a dead horse at this point, but there’s a reason it’s brought up so much: most people either forget it or neglect it.
It’s easy to take the “I’ll fix it when it’s broken mentality here, which is why it’s so important to bring it up. Dirty or clogged filters compromise the integrity of your HVAC system, make home for mold growth that can spread, wastes energy, causes allergic reactions… we could keep going, but that gives you an idea.
HEPA filters have recommended lifespans for replacing, going from every month to every 6 months – make sure you know when to replace yours and don’t forget to do so!
Never use hot water to de-ice your car
It might seem obvious to some, but you’d be forgiven for thinking this is an easy way to get your car ready for work in a hurry.
Basically, the extreme difference in temperature from your windshield to the boiling water can cause it to crack or break instantly. Opt for removing the ice with an ice scraper, de-icing spray, and if this is a problem you encounter fairly often, a windshield cover.
BONUS: Have your home inspected!
Full home inspections are easy ways to make sure everything is in working order for the winter. A professional home inspector can point out everything you should invest in without wasting your time, so if you haven’t had a home inspection in a while, it’s worth considering!
Need to know more about your heating system for the winter? Call a heating professional from your area and get free quotes today!