Winter provides a set of challenges for homeowners. Lots of things need to be primed and ready for the intense cold and some repairs need to be made to ensure your home is safe, but also comfortable!

So here’s a basic rundown of the most important repairs and preparations you need for the Winter.

“You must do the things you think you cannot do. – Eleanor Roosevelt

Get your emergency supplies in check

Emergency supplies need to be ready! Source: NRDC
Emergency supplies need to be ready! Source: NRDC

This goes especially for areas where power outages are already a common issue, but regardless of it being uncommon, it doesn’t cost much to be prepared. Stock up on bottled water, extra batteries, a few reliable flashlights, and first-aid supplies.

A portable smartphone charger may also come in handy!

Chimney sweeping

An extremely important bit of maintenance for the winter, your chimney is responsible for a lot more than it seems. A dirty or clogged chimneys can lead to smoke buildup, which can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning and creosote buildup.

Creosote is a substance that becomes highly flammable in large quantities, as we’ve discussed here.

Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working properly

Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life. Source: The Spruce
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors can save your life. Source: The Spruce

With fireplaces on frequently and a ton of electric devices working full force indoors, it’s crucial to ensure your smoke detector is ready to warn you of potential fire hazards in advance, and your carbon monoxide to prevent poisoning (which can go up to deadly levels). 

It’s ideal to check the batteries every month at least.

Trim your trees

It’s worth keeping an eye out for your trees, since falling snow can become a huge burden to tree limbs, making them crack and fall. If they crack and fall on your roof or your car… that’s bad.

Trimming your trees during Fall is the best way to make them ready for winter, but if you haven’t already, there’s still time – especially if tree branches are hovering over your roof, deck, or garage. 

Remove window screens

Removing screens from windows can boost natural light and improve solar heat gain. During winter storms, snow can also get trapped between the screen and window, potentially causing damage to window frames and sills.

Regular snow shoveling

Snow shoveling becomes part of the routine. Source: Sports Health
Snow shoveling becomes part of the routine. Source: Sports Health

Lots of pathways can get blocked by snow, including but not limited to the entrance to your house and most commonly your driveway. Regular snow shoveling is a requirement to make your life easier, so you’d do well to also keep some ice melt handy whenever necessary.

If snow shoveling is something you don’t have the time or physical condition to do, you can always hire the service at good rates.

Make sure your home is properly sealed

Windows and doors that are not properly sealed will let cold air in, which makes your heating systems have to work double time to keep the temperature up, and in turn, raises your energy bills. 

The easiest way to check for these leaks is by feeling them out. Is a room noticeably colder than others, even though heating is on? Do you feel cold air coming from a door or window? Are there any cold spots in the house? All of these can tip you out for signs of bad sealing.

In most cases, this is easy to fix though. Windows can be sealed by a professional in no time and doors can be adjusted or have weatherstripping installed. As for cold rooms or spots, it could be something with your HVAC system, so be sure to have it checked out.

Careful with frozen pipes

Frozen pipes can burst and cause lots of problems. Source: House Logic
Frozen pipes can burst and cause lots of problems. Source: House Logic

Frozen water inside pipes can expand and make them burst, leading to a lot of complications. Here are some of the best prevention tactics for frozen pipes:

  • Disconnect your hose from outside faucets;
  • If freezing water is a possibility, you can let your faucet dripping slightly. The minor movement in the water should help it prevent from freezing to a degree;
  • Insulate pipes wherever possible, but most importantly in areas that receive little to no heating (basement, for example);

If you were caught by surprise and found a frozen pipe in your home, call a licensed plumber right away – it can be dangerous to mess with frozen pipes by yourself!

Inspect and maintain your HVAC system

There are many small maintenance bits you have to do for an HVAC system to run smoothly, so let’s go over the most important ones:

  • Replace your HEPA filters regularly, depending on manufacturer recommendation;
  • Noticing a sudden increase in energy bills and/or an inefficient system? Reasons vary from leaky ducts to bad filters, so have it inspected as soon as you notice something strange;
  • Oil furnaces must be cleaned at least once a year;
  • Chimney sweeps must be done at least once a year, but more often depending on how much you use them. If you haven’t done it yet, have a professional come and check to see if everything is in top condition – dirty chimneys can become fire hazards;
  • Make sure your thermostat is working – if it’s an old model, maybe consider an upgrade for this year!

Need to know more about your heating system? Call a heating professional from your area and get free quotes today!


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