6 Tips On Preparing Your Home For The Winter
It’s all too easy to put off home repairs. For one thing, they can be rather expensive at times. Though not all home repairs are big-budget items, 2018 alone saw American home improvement expenditures total out at about $394 billion.
It’s simply not very fun to spend money on home repairs, as opposed to home remodeling services that allow you to focus on the aesthetic and other fun things. For another, it’s easy to let home repairs pile up if they’re not immediately apparent. You may notice a leaky roof and have that repaired much more quickly, but a slightly sagging roof may be of less concern — even though you should treat both with the same level of prioritization. But the more we wait on home repairs, the worse the issues associated with them become. Furthermore, rather than paying for things over time, you’ll be paying for a lot of problems to be repaired all at once. This can hit your bank account much harder than more incremental payments would.
This is why it’s often advised that you make a home repair to do list. A home repair to do list can help you organize your repairs more effectively, and for that matter, can help you think them out in terms of what is most important. This will ideally help you better plan out your repairs and will ease the financial strain that comes with them.
Right now, what you should be focusing on most when making your home repairs to do list is the incoming winter. Winter can wreak havoc on a house and exacerbate a lot of preexisting issues within its structure. Homes that already suffering from draftiness tend to become draftier, while excess moisture can turn into ice. Furthermore, on an internal level, older pipes can freeze over during the winter, perhaps even bursting and causing serious damage. Therefore, it’s important that you get as many repairs done before winter really sets in as possible. That’s why we’re looking into some of the important home maintenance tasks and repairs that you need to have done before the winter. Check them out below.
1. Electrical Repairs
It’s incredibly important that you have your electrical system running properly before winter. This is because your heating will depend on your electrical system. If a home isn’t heated properly during the winter, your entire family will suffer. It could even dangerous in some cases. The issue for a lot of homeowners is that electrical systems are somewhat complex and therefore will probably take up a couple of slots on your home repair to do list.
First and foremost, all electrical wiring should be up to date and free of fraying, not only to ensure that everything works as it should but also to ensure that your house won’t be at risk of catching fire. You must also ensure that all of your fuses are working as needed and don’t need to be replaced. Due to your heating needs, as well as holiday traditions, your electrical system may be working overtime during this time of year. If a fuse blows during the winter, it can be much more difficult to have mended at this time than it would be during the warmer months. Electricians may be more in-demand and therefore more difficult to reach. For that matter, your fuses may be harder to access during inclement weather. Therefore, you should have an electrician visit your home and give it a once-over well before winter comes, just to give yourself peace of mind and to ensure that your home’s electrical system is as ready for cold weather as possible.
2. Insulation Check
The last thing that you want is for your home to be poorly insulated heading into winter. That’s why an insulation check is so important. You should have your insulation checked by a maintenance professional who can ensure that your walls and ceilings are well-insulated and that your windows and doors don’t have space through which warm air can escape. Home insulation is a multi-faceted issue and is also dependent on your commitment to making sure that windows and doors are fully closed at all times. This will allow furnaces can work consistently rather than exhausting themselves and needing an emergency replacement. But this important part of your home repair to do list is also beneficial in that it keeps you from spending more money than you really need to.
Yes, we may put off these repairs in an effort to save money. But what’s really costing you is your energy bill. Look at your energy bills as you create your home repair to do list and think about how much money you could save if your HVAC system wasn’t working overtime to account for inefficient windows or other issues. If your HVAC unit is up for a replacement according to an HVAC service professional, consider having it replaced with a more energy efficient unit. Furthermore, have your windows updated or replaced in the same sense. If they lack shades, have windows shades installed, as well. Your home may be over-exerting itself in order to keep temperatures consistent. Though using natural sunlight can lower your bills, window shades will allow you to moderate the temperature resulting in a more comfortable home — and one wherein you pay less for your energy bills each month.
3. Roof Repairs
We mentioned earlier some issues that have to do with roofs. These should be given high priority on your general home repair to do list for multiple reasons. For one thing, a roof is there to protect those within your home. But if you do not keep it well-maintained, it could become potentially dangerous. The last thing you want is your roof experiencing a collapse during the winter. This leads us to the other issue surrounding roof repairs. Roofs take quite a beating during the wintertime. They endure cold temperatures, damage from hail, and of course, the weight of snow and ice caked upon it. This means that a roof that would normally need repairs anyway is especially vulnerable during the wintertime.
The best way to address roof repairs is to take them head on. Make your home repair to do list as needed and get in touch with a professional roofing service. The last thing you need is to try to make roof repairs on your own. Not only is this irresponsible, but it’s also potentially dangerous. If you’re not a professional roofer, you won’t know how to safely walk across a roof without slipping and falling. For that matter, even if you manage to keep yourself safe for the time being, if you aren’t doing the repairs properly, you may cause more harm to the roof than good. This could ultimately result in further damage and more money paid out of pocket.
You should address not only aesthetic and structural damage to your roof but leaks, as well. A leaky roof can cause your home to collect moisture. In spaces that are heated more for the winter, this could cause the house to develop mold. In colder areas, this would create ice, which can wreak havoc on your house over time. Therefore, all leaks need to be firmly taken care of before winter sets in. Which leads us to the next thing you should include on your home repair to do list…
4. Plumbing Maintenance and Repairs
The last thing you want is for your plumbing to fail during the winter. Not only is this inconvenient, but it could be caused by much deeper issues. You should have a plumbing services expert visit to check your home’s plumbing system before temperatures drop. If there is any structural instability in the plumbing pipes, there will be the potential for the pipes to freeze and burst if temperatures drop particularly low. This would leave you without plumbing potentially for days and is quite an expensive repair for that matter.
The other thing that you should consider carefully, of course, is how to best handle preventing freezing — regardless of how strong the pipes within your home are. You should remember that even if there is no risk of the pipes bursting, there is still a lot of potential for them to freeze. This itself would leave you without water for an indeterminable period of time, depending on how long it would take for the pipes to thaw.
So how do you prevent this? For one thing, your thermostat should be set at the same temperature day and night. For another, you should keep the water running at a bare trickle overnight. You don’t need to be wasteful; a drip should be enough to keep the water flowing. This will help combat the risk of pipes freezing over.
5. Gutter Cleaning
You also need to consider adding a good gutter cleaning to your home repair to do list. Gutters are something that we often forget about until we need to remember them, for understandable reasons. They’re external, so it’s harder to realize when they’re really becoming clogged. However, if your gutters are not cleared of debris before winter, you may not be able to effectively clean them again until the spring. Both the cold and the potential for ice and slipping can make cleaning the gutters dangerous during the winter, which is why you should get a head start.
If gutters are left clogged over the wintertime, they can build what are called ice dams. These ice dams can form in vulnerable parts of your roof as well, ultimately causing long-term damage. Within gutters, they can weigh the structures down, even sometimes causing them to rip away from your roof and causing serious damage to your home. The more cluttered a gutter is, the easier it will be for moisture to form and collect. During the winter, this can result in this ice issue. Simply have your gutters cleaned before winter sets in and you’ll have nothing to worry about.
6. Clean And Close Up Your Pool
If you own an inground pool, you’ll certainly need to add some pool maintenance to your home repair to do list. A pool offers many benefits, but unless it’s heated, it won’t be much good to you during the winter. You’ll need to keep it closed and covered during the winter, which will ideally keep it from freezing over or collecting debris through rain and snowstorms. Some people choose to drain their pools over the wintertime, though others consider this excessive and would prefer to keep their pools filled over the winter, but simply less accessible.
Take this time as an opportunity to furthermore clean your pool before closing it down for the winter. Pool cleanings should be on your regular home repair to do list anyway, and it’s much better to clean your pool before closing it up and covering it. The same can be said for similar features, like a hot tub or even water features like ponds. If you happen to have fish in your pond, that will require even more care and maintenance over the winter. You’ll likely be spending a lot more time indoors as things cool down, but that doesn’t mean that you should neglect everything outdoors.
This might seem like a lot to handle, but it’s better to be overly cautious as we head into the winter. The more effort that you put into ensuring that your home is ready for the winter, the less likely it will be that you’ll need to pay for repairs throughout that time. Take care of your to do list, make sure that your home is ready, and relax and bundle up for the winter. You’ll be glad that you were proactive.
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