Winter Home Maintenance Checklist

Winter is here, and along with it come winter home maintenance tasks! If you don’t have a checklist of your own already, the home repair experts at Hambleton Handyman have one to get you started.

1) Winterize your outdoor plumbing

Freezing temperatures can damage pipes. To avoid, shut off the valve that controls the outoor faucet, disconnect any hoses, and then let the water drain. Once the water is drained, add a faucet cover and store your hoses indoors.

2) Clear Gutters to Prevent Ice Dams

“Ice dams” form when snow melts and then refreezes on your roof. This cycle of melting and freezing allows water to find its way under your roof’s shingles, resulting in water damage to the roof, attic, and more. What’s more, large ice dams are quite heavy and could cause the roof to break under the weight.

To prevent ice dams, make sure that your gutters are clear and stay clear throughout the winter, and rake any heavy snow loads off your roof. If ladders aren’t your thing, you can count on your local handyman to do it for you!

3) Inspect Attic Insulation

There are several factors that go into a well insulated attic. Surprisingly, ventilation is one of them – if you notice that metal in your attic is rusting or that condensation is forming, then your attic’s ventilation is poor. If the insulation is the same height or lower than the floor joists, then you also need more insulation.

4) Check on Your Water Heater

Losing your warm water in the middle of winter is a horrible experience. To keep this from happening, it’s a good idea to check your water heater and flush its tank if it’s collected too much sediment. If you know how, it’s also worthwhile to check the relief the valve and anode rods – or call in a professional to do it for you.

Regular maintenance will also ensure that your heating system operates efficiently, preventing breakdowns and extending its lifespan. A well-maintained heating system contributes to the overall value and marketability of your home.

5) Change your furnace filter

A dirty furnace filter hurts the air quality of your home, and makes your furnace run harder, reducing its lifespan and costing you money both in the long and short term.

6) Check Weatherstripping

Can you feel a draft under your doors? Is your energy bill higher than normal? Then it might be time to have your weatherstripping replaced. Sometimes, however, the problem is a cheap or poorly installed door – so bear that in mind as well!

7) Switch ceiling fan direction

During winter, your fans should create an updraft, helping to circulate the warm air at the top of the room. Most modern fans have a switch that changes the direction of rotation.

8) Get your chimney inspected

A chimney inspector can make sure that the overall structure of the chimney is sound, and that it’s not obstructed in any way. With that out of the way, you can safely enjoy your fireplace!

9) Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

Working smoke detectors are estimated to reduce your chance of dying in a fire by half. That’s a significant amount, yet many homeowners neglect to maintain their smoke detectors!

10) Tighten loose door knobs, hand rails, and racks

Humidity in winter is usually much less than in summer. As a result, pieces of wood often change slightly in size – potentially loosening door knobs, hand rails, shelves, etc. This can be annoying! Fortunately, simply tightening the screws ususally solves the problem.

11) Test the sump pump

Sump pumps matter in winter, when snow melt can saturate the ground, as much as in summer, when heavy rainfall is more common. To make sure your sump pump is working reliably, slowly pour a pot of water into the sump pit. The pump should automatically turn on, pump out the water, and automatically turn off. If it doesn’t, you should contact a professional to help you repair or replace it.

12) Stock up on winter supplies

Have a stash of winter essentials such as rock salt, shovels, and snow blowers ready. A little preparation goes a long way when the snow starts falling.

13) Winterize your lawn equipment

Clean and store your lawnmower and other outdoor tools properly. Add fuel stabilizer to gas-powered equipment to prevent fuel deterioration during winter storage.

14) Paint a room!

While this isn’t strictly home maintenance, it can help maintain your sanity to make your home more pleasant for the winter. After all, you’ll likely be spending more time in doors!