Winters are getting harsher, and a single winter storm can cause more than $1 billion in damage.
To avoid costly repairs, you should prepare your home for winter. But it isn’t always easy to understand what you’ll do now to organize for the cold and protect your property.
Don’t worry, we’re here to assist .Here are our top 10 tips for winter home maintenance
1. check your gutters and drains
The amount of rainfall increases in winter, so you want to be prepared. Cleaning your rain gutters is not a fun job, but it will save you money in the long run. Maintaining your rain gutters properly will reduce the need for replacement and the likelihood of damage to your roof.
If your gutters are blocked, they will overflow and break, putting a strain on the roof itself. They can also become buried in ice, causing thawing damage and straining the gutters.
Whether you have special tools or are doing it the old-fashioned way, here’s how to do it.
Stand the ladder firmly against the side of the house. If possible, have someone hold it for you to make sure it is even.
Pick up the soil with a small shovel. Do not place it on the lawn, but dump it on a rubbish bag or sheet.
Hose down the gutters and clean them thoroughly.
You often don’t need to worry about gutter guards. You will not be able to clean the gutters, which can be more work than it’s worth.
When you have finished cleaning, check for any other drainage problems.
Check the basement for water spots and the attic for mould. Both mould and water damage can indicate that the drainage system is not far enough away from the house, especially in older houses.
As water returns to the foundation, signs of dampness will appear in the attic or basement. The solution to this problem is to extend the guttering to channel the water further away.
2. test your sump pump
A sump pump acts as a last-resort solution to prevent condensation formation, flooding and water ingress through drains. Test your pump before winter sets in. If you don’t, your basement could flood or your foundations could be damaged.
If you find an outlet pipe, check it for dirt and debris. If it is clogged, remove it. Make sure that the water is away from the foundations of your house.
If you are using a dual cable pump, disconnect both cables. If the buzzer sounds when you plug in the pump cable, it means it is working properly. Always reconnect everything after the test.
For single cable pumps, pour 20 gallons of water into the pump well until the float rises. You should hear the pump turn on. While the power is on, check to make sure the water is being pumped out correctly and that the pump automatically turns off when the water is drained.
It may be worth installing a water detector to protect the basement from damp.
3. check the window wells
Window wells are an excellent thanks to let natural light into your basement and supply ventilation. They also help to prevent soil from sticking to the windows. However, if they are not maintained properly, they can put your basement at risk.
One of the main causes of window flooding is liner failure. If the liner becomes dislodged from the foundation wall, the soil pressure creates a gap between the dislodged liner and the wall. This allows water the opportunity to penetrate when the soil becomes saturated.
Before winter arrives, check your window wells. At this time of year, problems are at their worst. Check the linings and replace any that are loose.
4. cleaning the dryer vents
During the cold season, dryers come into use more and more often. Dryers can cause fires and with over 15,000 fires occurring each year it is important to reduce this risk.
To reduce the risk of fires and improve the energy efficiency of your home, try to remove any lint build-up from your dryer.
The first step is to wash the lint filter. This component is often located at the front of the dryer.
Turn the filter to scrape out the lint. You can also use a hoover to remove any lint trapped in the filter. After cleaning, the filter should be replaced.
The next step is to clean the lint outlets. These can be found on the back of most dryers. If you cannot find them, check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Loosen the clamps with a flathead screwdriver. This will allow you to move the vent away from the wall and the dryer. Then, with the vent in a vertical position, brush the pipe with the dryer vent duct brush.
Rotate the brush as you pull it out, but be sure to do so gently. Repeat this until all the lint is out of the vent.
Then reconnect the vents and turn on the dryer for about 15 minutes. This will allow air to enter the air vent and blow out any lint that has clogged the hose or the air vent.
5. check the electrical system
In winter, when the weather gets colder and the days get longer, you do not want your electrical system to break down.
Before the cold weather sets in, it’s a good idea to carry out some maintenance on your electrical system. Check the mains panel for sparks and the breaker wiring for poor insulation or discoloration.
Use a multimeter to check the flow of power in the electrical circuit. Check extension cords, sockets and heating appliances.
At this point, you should also test the GFCI (Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter). Simply press the test button and use a multimeter to determine if current is flowing.
If there is any problem, ask a reputable electrician to investigate further. This is not something you should do yourself.
6. bleed the radiator
Every winter, your heating system needs to be purged to ensure that it is working to its full capacity and efficiency. After all, you don’t do the maintenance yourself.
Even if you’ve never done it before, cleaning your radiators is not difficult, even for the less dexterous.
Turn all the radiators to maximum temperature. Wait a few minutes, then turn off the central heating and allow them to cool.
Treat one radiator at a time, starting with the one closest to the boiler.
Turn off the radiators and open the bleed valve. Place a tray under the valve and let all the air out. Don’t worry, the water that comes out will collect in the tray.
Once the air is out, close the valve and repeat the process for the other radiators.
Next, check that the air pressure in the boiler is at the correct level. This is the green part of the pressure gauge.
7. Avoiding ice dams
In freezing conditions, ice dams can form at the edge of the roof. The melted snow does not drain away properly. Water can seep into the roof, damaging the ceiling, insulation and walls.
When heat builds up in the attic and the roof is heated from the eaves, ice cubes can form. This causes the snow on the warmer parts of the roof to melt, but the snow on the colder eaves to freeze, forming a dam. Melted water from the warmer parts of the roof rises and flows under the shingles and into the house.
The only way to prevent ice dams is to keep the whole roof at the same temperature. This can be achieved by improving ventilation and adding insulation. Any air leaks that could heat the underside of the roof must be sealed up.
8. plug leaking doors and windows
Check windows and doors by opening and shutting them. Is there a gap between the seals when the lock is closed?
If it is an old window, you can add a new seal. There is a spread of various types to settle on from.
– Bronze seals can last for decades, but they take time to install.
– Self-adhesive plastics are easy to fit, but do not last long and need to be replaced frequently.
– EPDM rubber with adhesive is in the middle and is supposed to last at least 10 years
Once you have changed the window frame, do the same with the door and check for air leaks. Again, there are several options to choose from.
– Foam tape with an adhesive backing
– Felt – cheaper and easier to install, but less durable and more frequently replaced.
– Tubular rubber, vinyl or silicone – expensive and difficult to install, but provides an excellent seal.
Check that there are no gaps between the exterior trim and the door frame. Any gaps should be covered with an exterior latex caulk.
If there is a gap from the bottom, check the condition of the threshold seal. If it is worn out, replace it. Alternatively, a weatherproof door brush designed for outdoor use can be fitted.
9. weatherproof exterior pipes
Freezing cold weather can cause serious problems for outdoor pipes. Frozen pipes can burst and, when thawed, release hundreds of gallons of water in a single day. This can lead to serious structural damage.
All pipes should be checked for signs of weakness. Moisture on taps and connectors is also an indication of advanced wear. If moisture is present, replace these components immediately.
Turn off the off-grid plumbing and make sure that the water has completely drained out. It is a good idea to check again in a few days to ensure that the water has drained completely.
For extra protection, you can buy electrical tape and wrap it around the outside pipes or other pipes in your basement.
If you don’t have plumbing plans to hand, it can also be useful to paint the handles of external taps a bright color. This will make them easier to spot in the snow or at night. Also, if you have a winter emergency, a plumber will be able to find the faucet and repair it quickly.
10. prepare for winter storms
Winter brings freezing rain, sleet and blizzards. Make sure you’re prepared for subsequent big storm.
If you’ve got a generator, confirm it’s working. Also make sure you have batteries for lanterns and torches in case of a power cut or blackout.
It is also a good idea to keep a solar or battery-powered radio in the house. This will allow you to keep up to date with news and weather forecasts even if you lose mobile phone reception.
Heavy snow equipment should be stored by the door for quick access.
Finally, large amounts of snow on trees can increase the risk of them breaking. This may result in personal injury or property damage.
Also, clear the snow from the branches of trees after every heavy snowfall. A broom can be used to extend your reach.