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Home Improvement: Easy Tips for your Winter Maintenance

Home Improvement: Easy Tips for your Winter Maintenance

     
December 19, 2014  |  Home Improvement

Winter may have started but it’s never too late to winterize your home. Two more months of freezing cold means you should not subject your home’s condition to the weather. Check out this easy checklist of things to do to make sure your home is tough enough to endure the winter season.

Heating System

  • Your thermostat should be in tip-top shape by now when the temperature is dropping low. You should hear the furnace every time you turn it on and warm air should blow within just a few minutes. If it’s not running okay, contact a service technician ASAP.
  • Similarly, your furnace should have also been checked by now assuming that it is already being used in your home. The air filter should have been replaced and the fuel storage tank topped off and ready for use.
  • Check that there are no obstacles to heating vents so air can flow freely.
  • Paramount in the checklist is to check for Carbon Monoxide leaks. Test with a badge or battery operated alarm.

Air-conditioning

Air-conditioning in winter? It might not take center stage now as it does during summer, but it still needs some TLC this time of the year

  • Clean the condensing unit of debris by spraying with a hose set to “jet” (or the highest pressure in the equipment) and taking away dirt residue in the fan blades.
  • Make sure to cover the condensing unit. Left unprotected, it can be damaged by debris and wet leaves thus, causing rust. Cover with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose and you extend the life span of your air-conditioner.
  • For window air-conditioner, remove and store for the winter. If it can’t be removed, close the vents and make sure to get a cover similar to the one used for the condensing unit

Wood Burning Fireplace / Chimney

Wood burning fireplace and chimney can be a source of cold air leaks if not taken care of properly.

  • Chimney should be clear of any nests from birds and squirrels (or other animals).
  • Chimney draft should be able to draw up the fire and smoke properly. If smoke is not coming out of the chimney, you have an obstruction and need to call a service professional to clean it up from possible debris and clogged ash.
  • You can perform a do-it-yourself clean test by taking several sheets of newspaper, rolling them up and with the fireplace damper in the open position, lighting the newspapers. Smoke should rise up in the chimney.
  • Inspect the fire brick. If there are any open mortar joints, call a pro and have them repaired immediately! Left unattended, this is a safety hazard causing possible fire that can spread into the stud wall. Please check your open mortar joints.

Plumbing

Plumbing is vulnerable to cold weather and freezing. Repair for burst pipes because of freezing is one of the most expensive home repairs. To avoid such disaster, see the home maintenance list for plumbing:

  • Make sure to insulate any exposed water or drain piping in spaces like the attic, outside walls and crawlspace. Wrap them with electrical heating tape first, then insulate.
  • Disconnect garden hoses from the sill cocks or outside faucets and drain them before storage.
  • The exterior faucet or known as hose bibbs or sill-cocks needs to have its  water supply turned off inside the house. Again, drain the water from it. You may also want to consider using an insulated cover for the hose bibb.
  • If you will be gone for some time, don’t forget to shut off the water supply and drain the plumbing system.

Insulation

  • Use an insulating blanket for your hot water tank. You can buy this from any hardware store.
  • Use foam sealing gasket for insulating exterior outlets.
  • If you don’t use your fireplace a lot and it leaks air, cut a piece of fiberglass insulation and use it to stuff into the fireplace behind your glass doors in order to block the cold air from coming down the chimney. This could be easily removed when you use your fireplace.

Roof

  • If you haven’t done so yet, check your roof for damaged or missing shingles. If any, have them fixed or replaced immediately.
  • Clear the gutters and downspouts of remaining leaves as these can add weight and volume to the gutter when frozen and cause damage.

 

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Lisa Blake, CEO & Founder of THE BLAKE TEAM KELLER WILLIAMS and one of the top agents in Colorado, specializes in working with Buyers and Sellers. The Blake Team is a full-service real estate company offering the most comprehensive real estate services in the market.

 

About the author

The Blake Team is a full-service Real Estate team based in Aurora, Colorado specializing in working with Buyers & Sellers, foreclosures/HUD, short sales, and luxury properties. A team with years of experience and an impressive success rate that made it the No.18 real estate brokerage in the nation, as well as the No.1 Keller Williams agent in Colorado led by CEO & Founder Lisa Blake. The Blake Team is your No. 1 choice for getting your dream home!