How to Maintain Your Home in the Winter

Home improvement projects abound in the spring, summer, and fall, but what home repair projects do people do in the winter? Answer: All the projects that happen the rest of the year. However, projects such as replacing windows, painting rooms, and putting on a new roof are difficult to start and even harder to follow through on in the winter because of the weather. Solution: Wait until spring.

Plenty of other home repairs are more appropriate for the winter like securing your home so that it can survive that winter weather. Now that winter has arrived, follow these maintenance tips to secure your home for the winter:

Sweep the Chimney

Have your chimney cleaned. The easiest way to do this is to hire a professional. Leaves and birds nests stuck in a chimney can block ventilation and endanger your health. At the very least, check your chimney once a year.

Have a chimney cap installed to prevent water and outside debris from entering your chimney.

Seal Doors and Windows

Caulk or weather-strip gaps around doors and windows to prevent warm air from escaping and cold air from coming in. Pick up a caulk gun for about $40 at your local home improvement store. Caulk in a 10 ounce tube costs about $10.

Consider installing storm windows if they are not already installed in your home. They are a more cost-effective option to replacing windows and are just as efficient.

Insulate, Insulate, Insulate

Make sure the insulation in your attic is adequate. Not sure? Because insulation depends on where you live and involves the level of resistance to heat flow, ask the staff at a local home improvement center how much insulation is recommended where you live. Most houses need at least 12 inches of insulation. If you can see the ceiling joists, you know you don’t have enough insulation as these are about 10 inches.

Insulate your attic door as well to prevent warm air from escaping. Seal any holes leading down into the house with spray foam, looking for open plumbing or electrical. Not only does the right amount of insulation keep your home warmer in the winter, it keeps it cooler in the summer also.

Check the Roof

Ok, it’s cold, but make a quick trip up to the roof if you can.

Replace loose shingles or have a professional replace them. Damage sustained from snowstorms or rain that stains indoor ceilings from the roof is costlier and more difficult than replacing a few loose shingles in the first place.
Trim any tree limbs that are hanging over or touching your roof. Storms can cause these limbs to fall and do a lot of damage to your roof.
Clean drain gutters and keep downspouts pointed away from the house. Water from downspouts should be at least 10 feet away from the house.
Clear your roof of debris to prevent a fire and to lessen the likelihood of damage when a storm comes.
Check the Heating System
Replace the furnace filter at least once a year and check them monthly. A dirty filter not only reduces the efficiency of heating your home, it can also start a fire.

Invest in a setback thermostat. Keeping your home at the same warm temperature all day is more expensive. Get a thermostat that will regulate the temperature in your home, and set it cooler when you are gone. Cost of this type of thermostat is $30.

Keeping vents open and removing dust will make your heating system more efficient. Having all vents open will also make sure air is distributed evenly around the house.

Fire Prevention

Pick up smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors. Change the batteries often.
Buy a fire extinguisher if you don’t already have one. If you do have one, check the expiration date. Yes, they do expire.
Use a fireplace screen when you are out of the room to prevent sparks from catching fire on the carpet or paper nearby.
Keep paper, boxes, clothes, and other combustible material away from the furnace and leave the furnace room door open.
When you have finished winterizing your home, think about projects for spring. A new deck, a remodeled kitchen, and freshly painted rooms are all great springtime projects. Write down your expectations, a schedule of when particular steps of the project need to be completed by, supplies needed, and estimated costs of everything. Whether you elect to complete projects yourself or hire a knowledgeable contractor, have in mind what you want and set aside enough time to get the results you deserve.

Certain home maintenance projects, such as getting a chimney sweep require an e

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