As we go along in life, there is one particular lesson we all learn one way or another: maintenance is cheaper than repair.
With winter just around the corner, it’s prime time to complete several bits of maintenance around the house. In doing so, you will protect your home against the elements and hit the ground running come springtime.
Follow these tips before the cold sets in:
1) Perform chimney/fireplace maintenance. Chimney fires most often occur due to faults in the chimney pipes and from the buildup of creosote. It is absolutely critical to the safety of yourself and your family to have an annual chimney inspection performed — if you have a wood stove, twice per year is recommended. Start with a visual inspection, looking for obstructions within and above the chimney. Then, inspect the exterior pipe for gaps or cracks. Finally, hire a chimney sweep to clean the inside.
2) Show your gas-powered machinery some love. Gasoline chemically degrades over time. To avoid this issue, add a fuel stabilizer to lawn mowers and generators that might lie dormant over the winter. Also take this time to clean the underside of your lawnmower — you’ll be happy you did when you crank it up in the spring.
3) Give your perimeter drainage a look over. Water is the enemy of a house foundation, particularly in freezing temperatures when the cold can crack concrete like glass. Keep your foundation safe by making sure water is directed away from your house. Keep soil away from your foundation too, as it traps water, and check that the ground is graded so water flows away from the house.
4) Drain all unused water hoses. Freezing water pipes are no fun, especially when they break. So, drain the water from sprinkler systems and hoses to avoid ruptures and freezing water backing up into your house. Also, make sure to detach garden hoses from your home.
5) Keep gutters clear. Clogged gutters obstruct drainage when the weather is warm — but when it gets cold, they can wreak havoc on your roof. Ice dams form when frozen water gets trapped at the roofline, seeping its way upward under the roof.
6) Caulk your exterior. Wood cracks, houses shift, and old caulk grows brittle. To protect your home from the elements, you’d be hard-pressed to find a more effective winterizing measure than re-applying caulk around windows, doors, siding, trim, and utility pipe entrances. This cheap and easy task keeps moisture from seeping into your home during the winter months.
You’ll sleep better this winter knowing you’ve protected your house and property from the elements. Devote an afternoon to these tasks and save yourself money and time down the road.