Call it the paradox of winter—a season as cozy as it is dangerous.
The kinds of property damage we associate with winter are also some of the most common and most dangerous. Without preparation, your home could fall victim to a whole host of maintenance issues, as cold snaps and bad weather put your home to the test. There’s nothing like winter to reveal a home’s structural issues.
Don’t panic. Here are seven essential winter home maintenance tips to keep your house and family safe every winter.
1. Get a Dehumidifier
If you live in a climate that’s damp in winter, a dehumidifier is an essential winter appliance. On the other side of the coin, many cold-climate areas experience very dry air and may need a humidifier.
In winter, the air in your home can become saturated with moisture. You may not realize it, but your home turns into a kind of phantom swimming pool, leading to a drop in air quality and condensation on cold surfaces like external walls and windows.
Over time, this moisture promotes the growth of mold. Rampant mold is unsightly, poses a risk to human health, and can damage soft furnishings and wallpaper.
Buy a dehumidifier this winter and watch it in amazement at the amount of water it pulls from the air. This is water that you never even realized was a problem.
2. Check Your Roof
Do you ever think about how much you rely on your roof? Well, you’ll know all about it when you have a roof problem.
Inspecting your roof and making repairs before winter starts is the smart thing to do. Missing or broken roof tiles can allow water ingress, while a damaged roof might fail under the weight of accumulated snow. Strong winds can cause extensive damage to a roof, too.
Roof damage can lead to a ruined attic and even leaks throughout the home, alongside exposing your home to the elements. So don’t let roof problems catch you out.
3. Clear Your Gutters
If you’ve taken the time to inspect your roof and make repairs, you don’t want to overlook your gutters. In many ways, a roof is only as good as the gutters are clear.
Gutters control the flow of water from the roofline of your home. When they become clogged, that water can overspill into attic spaces or rot your roof.
Gutters also keep water from destroying the foundations of your home by channeling it into drains. A clogged gutter lets water overflow, often pooling around the base of your house. Over time, that can cause floods and damage your home’s foundation.
4. Inspect Your Yard
Your yard is a wonderful source of winter dangers, so don’t overlook it in your house maintenance checklist.
Trees are one of the biggest hazards during winter. Tree branches are heavier than they look, and a fallen or lightning-struck tree can cause severe damage to your home or car and even injure loved ones.
With your trees under control, you should also look for another yard risk: signs of flooding. Pooling water could become a flood in deep winter, or seep into your basement, causing the kind of water damage that could threaten the structure of your home.
If you notice signs of flooding in your yard, be sure to get your drainage sorted before heavy rain and snow begin.
5. Protect Your Pipes
Pipes can be a real-time bomb in winter. Why? Because, as water freezes, it also expands.
That’s a recipe for burst pipes, which can cause untold levels of water damage to your home. This is a particular danger if you’re away from your home for the winter, as this allows pipes to sit in freezing conditions for longer.
If you’re staying at home, you can usually avoid the problem of frozen pipes through general use and by using your heating often. However, pay special attention to pipes that run outdoors, as these can be harder to protect from freezing conditions. If you’re concerned about outdoor pipes, consider taking steps to insulate them against the cold.
If you’re migrating south for the winter, then winterizing your pipes is essential to protect your home while you’re away.
6. Test Your Furnace
You won’t know how much you take your furnace for granted until it fails during the first cold snap of winter. That’s why a short rehearsal is a great idea.
Run your furnace as if you were heating your home, and be sure to check that it is running smoothly. This is also a great time to swap out the air filter before turning on the heat for the first time.
In the depths of winter, you should also run your furnace regularly even if you’re between cold snaps. This will give you some peace of mind that the furnace will still work when you need it most.
7. Clean Your Chimney
If you’re lucky enough to have a working fireplace, you can look forward to some cozy evenings this winter. That’s less true if you accidentally start a chimney fire.
Over time, combustible material can build up on the interior surface of your chimney. You might also find that pests have nested in your chimney over months of disuse. Either of these problems can lead to a chimney fire.
Luckily, the solution is simple. Call a chimney maintenance service and have them sweep your chimney, leaving it clear and safe to use on those cold winter nights.
Winter Home Maintenance Made Simple
With these seven essential winter home maintenance tips, you can keep things simple while protecting your house and loved ones. But stay attentive during winter, too. With a little mindfulness, you can catch issues before they become expensive or dangerous problems. By keeping these tips in mind, you can rest easy and enjoy the cozy side of winter.
Looking to replace your filters and protect your home? Check out our great selection of AIRx Filters here.