If you’re not looking forward to winter, have you considered whether the condition of your home is a contributing factor? From the furnace to shingles and insulation, winter can sometimes feel like a time where regular maintenance gets a bit neglected. The good thing is, it doesn’t have to! Here are some key ways you can better maintain your home this winter and have a more enjoyable season, with advice straight from the experts in home maintenance.
Inspect and Clean Your Roofing System
Over the winter, your gutters and shingles will get covered in snow and ice. However, they also will encounter periods where the temperature rises and melts it. If this runoff can’t escape to the ground from your roof, it could cause severe problems including sagging, mould, and even rot – the last thing you want to happen over the winter!
“The most important thing you can do to protect your roof over the winter is to keep those gutters as clean and cleared-out as possible,” says Kershan Bursala, owner of Roofmaster. “By allowing melt runoff to reach your gutters and exit via the eavestrough, you can have a great winter without worrying about what’s above your head. But if you let it sit with nowhere to go, there’s going to be a lot of costly trouble later on.”
High-Quality Door and Window Insulation
“We’ve seen all sorts of homeowners encounter energy bill fluctuations and even damage to their property because of worn-out, tired window and door insulation that should have been upgraded years ago,” says Brian Gow, owner of Scheel Window & Door. “We suggest applying new weather stripping or, in a pinch, using high-quality window caulking as a solution to help get you through the winter.”
If your windows or doors are drafty and giving your home a hard time, these can be effective, albeit temporary, fixes. That said, don’t assume the problem is solved. Once the warm weather rolls around, it’s probably a good idea to get them inspected or replaced with modern ones that have better protection against air leaks, especially if your current windows and doors are quite old. This can also help to reduce your energy bills in the long term, so consider it a win-win.
Keep the Exterior Clean and Clutter-Free
Have you thought about what would happen if your home gets hit with a tree branch or piece of debris from a windy snowstorm outside? Take care of cleaning up the exterior of your property before this happens! Everything from loose lawn furniture to tree debris can be tossed around in violent winds or crushed against the side of your home by snow buildup. This can cause all sorts of damage, both externally and internally, and it’s a needless expense that can easily be averted.
“We see so many people having to deal with an unnecessary mid-winter cleanup – it’s a nightmare to repair a cracked window or broken siding when it’s -30° with a frostbite advisory,” says Tonya Bruin, owner of To-Do Done, a renovations company. “I can’t stress enough how important it is to keep your home’s exterior organized and prepared for a long winter. Ask for help if you need it or don’t have time. Everything, from scratchy tree branches to children’s toys on the lawn or a rake left outside by the shed, can become a missile if thrown about by the wind.”
Keeping Your Furnace and Vents in Good Condition
It’s obvious that your furnace needs to be reliable this winter, but how can you ensure it runs smoothly and delivers consistent heat? On top of that, your air needs to be clean and pollutant-free – it’s not like you can crack open a window in January!
“Your furnace and ventilation need to be well-maintained year-round if you want to sustain a healthy, clean living environment,” says Nate Burlando, owner of Distinct Heating & Cooling. “Cleaning dust bunnies out of gratings, clearing debris out of vents, eplacing the furnace filter, and everything in between makes a big difference. You’ve got to keep on top of regular care, but also don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional for more intensive work needs to be done. Never, ever perform repairs yourself, as it could pose a serious safety risk.”
These are just a few key ways that, when combined, can keep your home in great shape over the winter. Whether protecting your roof or keeping your ventilation clean and clear, every little bit helps to make your home easier to maintain! Cross a few things off your “I’ll do it later” list and gain more peace of mind this holiday season and beyond.