With the first big snowstorm behind us and the next few on their way, make sure your home is ready for the Winter of 2014.
Listed below are basic home maintenance items you can do each year during the winter months that are inexpensive. The cost of not doing the items we’ve listed below may very well cost more than you ever wanted to pay! When you think of it, who really wants to spend their hard-earned money on home repairs – when you don’t have to.
- Tune up your heating systems. For about $80 to $100, or if it’s covered under your yearly oil contract, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency.
- Reverse the fans. If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. Energy Star says the fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling.
- Seal the gaps. If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and can withstand a lot.
- Clean the gutters. If your gutters are full of detritus, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim. You may have to pay for this service if you can’t do it yourself, but it’s well worth the money.
- Turn off exterior faucets. Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets, turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
- Stow your mower. John Deere recommends to wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel. Check your mower’s manual for other cold-weather storage steps.
- Test your sump pump. Slowly pour several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one.
- Restock Winter Essentials. Don’t wait for the first winter storm to restock cold-weather essentials, such as salt or ice melt.
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