Here in Washington DC, the winters can be brutal as you know. Maintenance tasks may be last on your list as the temperatures plummet, but nonetheless they must be done for the good of your home and property. Here’s what you need to start doing for the next couple of months before the weather starts to warm up in the spring. Check out these helpful winter home maintenance tips.
1. Check the Fireplace and Chimney
If you utilize your fireplace at all, now is the time to have a chimney sweep clean it. At the same time, check for any debris and cracks in the chimney, as any creosote buildup and debris such as bird nests and leaves could pose a fire hazard, says The Family Handyman.
2. Check Batteries in Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
The U.S. Fire Administration says that heating is the cause of 27 percent of house fires during the winter months. Make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working, and make sure you have smoke alarms in every room of the house, including hallways. Your winter home maintenance checklist should always include an inspection of your alarms and batteries.
3. Prevent Pipes from Freezing
When water turns freezing, it tends to expand and then causes burst pipes. In order to prevent this, you should insulate any pipes you may have near windows and doors, as well as in any area of the home that is unheated. You should also disconnect your garden hose from the outside faucet. Set the heat to no lower than 55 degrees F if you plan to be away.
4. Prepare for Storms
Power outages are common during winter storms in DC, so be prepared with a survival kit. Stock up on bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, first-aid supplies, phone chargers and batteries.
5. Prevent Ice Dams
Is your home prone to icicles and ice dams? Take precautions now to ensure you have proper insulation and venting, which will help stop the formation of ice dams. After snow storms, be sure to rake the snow off your roof. It’s also a good idea to invest in heat cable installation to assist with the melting of snow.
6. Check the Roof
Give the roof a visual inspection on a clear day. Make note if there are any loose or missing shingles that could result in leaks from melting snow. Also, check for any broken seals around the chimney and any vents.
7. Inspect Insulation
Adequate insulation keeps your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Insufficient insulation makes your heating system work overtime, which adds to your energy costs. Save money on heating costs and ensure consistent comfort by adding additional insulation to your attic, walls and crawlspaces.
8. Reverse Ceiling Fans
If your home has ceiling fans in your home, switch the fan blades to run clockwise. When you run the blades in this position during the cold months of winter pushes heated air down, leading to higher comfort and lower energy bills. As you can see, there are many winter home maintenance tasks that shouldn’t be neglected, in order to keep you safer and more comfortable throughout the cold months in DC.