Avoid These Common Home Winter Problems
Your warm weather DIY projects may be on hold until next year, but hopefully you got around to taking care of some pre-winter maintenance around the house before they turn into problems that spoil your holiday fun.
1. Chimney Fires
If you're dreaming of a "White Christmas," don't forget to take care of your chimneys before the winter chill hits. Some homeowners opt for the gas fireplace versus the wood burning variety, but there's definitely something about the scent and charm of a wood burning fireplace that just doesn't compare to a gas one.
Regardless of what type of open fire you have to roast your chestnuts, do it safely by having your chimney cleaned and inspected regularly. An improperly maintained chimney can lead to fires, causing potentially significant damage or injuries.
2. Heating System Breakdowns
Don't let this happen to you. Especially with family and friends dashing through the snow to share in your holiday festivities. An ounce of prevention through regular inspection and maintenance of your heating system can mean the difference between a "Silent Night" and a rollicking good time "Rocking Around the Christmas Tree."
A drafty house can get chilly when temps dip outside, and let in the heat when summer comes along. This inefficiency will cost you more on your energy bills, leaving you less money for holiday spending. Proper seals around the doors and windows can help decrease the amount of heat—and money—lost through those sneaky drafts.
4. Roof Shingle Damage
Before Santa and his reindeer land on your rooftop, check those shingles for any that are missing or loose. These deficiencies, no matter how small, could lead to roof leaks, or worse, injury to the Big Man in Red. Hopefully he's not the litigious type.
5. Overflowing Gutters
If you live in an area with deciduous trees that spill leaves into your yard and gutters, don't forget to rake them up to make leaf compost, and clear them out of the gutters to keep them from getting clogged. While you're up checking the roof, inspect the gutters, making sure they channel the water away from the home, not into it.
6. Ice Dams
Areas that experience significant freezes are at risk of damage from ice dams. These occur when a ridge of ice prevents melting snow from draining off the roof, potentially causing roof damage that can let water into the home. Controlling the amount of heat loss from the home can help prevent this seriously detrimental problem from happening.
7. Fallen Branches
Ice, snow, and windstorms can tear limbs off trees easily, causing damage to your home. Avoid costly repairs by properly maintaining the health of your trees, which includes appropriate pruning each year.
Winter is a great time to do some pruning while trees are dormant, as long as the weather cooperates. With very large trees, or trees, it is best to leave this to the professionals who have the equipment to ensure the safety of people and property beneath.
While you're trimming, don't forget to take some cuttings to propagate some of your favorites around the property.
7. Frozen Pipes
No one wants to deal with home emergencies around the holidays, so don't forget to include the plumbing on your list of things to shore up before temperatures in your area plummet. Pipes exposed to exterior temps are best wrapped for insulation.
For outdoor faucets, consider installing a frost proof sillcock if you don't already have one.
8. Burst Sprinkler Lines
For now, it might be out of sight, out of mind, especially under a blanket of snow, but if you forgot to winterize your sprinkler system, you may be in for an expensive surprise when things thaw out in the spring. Leaking pipes can damage foundations and cause unexpected water bills before they're discovered. Depending on your location, it's a good idea to properly winterize your sprinkler system, so if you can, do!
Enjoy Your Home in the Winter
You've spent the year working hard on your DIY projects to upgrade your home. Don't jeopardize your successes by forgetting to address these simple maintenance projects before winter hits.