Winter Home Maintenance To Do Now

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Home Improvement

Now that the weather is a bit cooler and there is less to do outside the home, now is the time to do those home maintenance things that you've put off. If I've missed something, please let me know in the comments.

Check your Heating System: Depending on the type of heating system you have, there are a few home maintenance things you should do before the temperatures really start to dip. If you have a high-efficiency system, PVC vent pipes need to be cleared of any obstructions. And those with a boiler system should have their system cleaned every year. Those with gas should have a cleaning about every three years. 

Check your Chimney: If you are fortunate to have one, have it cleaned by a chimney sweep. You should also check for any debris and cracks in the chimney. And creosote buildup and debris such as leaves and bird nests could become a fire hazard.

Inspect your Insulation: Adequate insulation will help keep your home warm in the winter and cool in the summer. And if your insulation is insufficient, your heating system will have to work overtime this winter. By adding some insulation to your attic, walls and crawlspace, you can save money on heating costs.

Change Smoke Detector/Carbon Monoxide Batteries: According to the U.S. Fire Administration, heating is the cause of 27 percent of structure fires during the winter months. So make sure all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are working in your home. And it's best to have smoke alarms in every room of your home, including hallways. Here is another tip: take a sharpie and write the date you installed those new batteries inside the cover in case you move or another family member is tasked with replacing the batteries in the future.

Test your Sump Pump: Your sump pump will help you keep your basement dry during the wet season, so make sure it's working properly. Slowly pour a few gallons of water into the pit to make sure the pump turns on. The typical lifespan of a sump pump is 10 years. And if you live in one of Marin's floating homes, be sure to frequently check your bilge.

Inspect Length of Dryer Vents and Flaps: This is a serious problem that causes more than just a fire hazard. You could also have rodents living in these warm spaces.

Protect your Entryways: All that rain and mud can wreak havoc on your entryway floors. Place mats both inside and outside the door, along with boot trays inside the entryway. And make sure your mudroom is ready with a place to dry wet jackets, hats, mittens and gloves.

Save your windows and doors: check for air leaks around windows and doors, including cracks in caulking or weatherstripping. Also, replace caulk and weatherstripping if necessary. This is especially necessary with older double-pane windows.

Check your Roof: Are there any loose or missing shingles that may result in leaks during one of our rainstorms? Also be sure to check for any broken seals around vents and the chimney, if you have one.  

Flat Roof Maintenance: Be sure to remove leaves that can hold moisture. This home maintenance task can be done with a rake or blower.

Switch Ceiling Fans to a Clockwise Rotation: Most units have a switch to make the fan blades run clockwise in winter / counterclockwise in the warmer months. Running the blades in a clockwise position during the colder months can push heated air down. This home maintenance task makes rooms with high ceilings more comfortable. 

Protect your Air Conditioner: You don't need to invest in a waterproof cover (in fact many manufacturers recommend against it, because it creates a warm space for critters). Just place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC should be ready to work again in the spring. 

Inspect your Hot Water Tank: Flush your hot water tank to remove sediment. You can also wrap an older hot water tank with an insulating blanket to help conserve energy (and save you money). And these blankets prevent hot water heaters from losing heat in cold rooms and closets.

Trim Tree Limbs: Your winter home maintenance checklist should include trimming any dead tree limbs so they don't fall and damage your home during a winter storm. And if you need to remove large limbs or remove a tree, it may be best to hire a professional. Also, be a good neighbor and if your trees are nearing a neighboring home, take care of it before they have to remind you.

Prepare for the Worst: Yes, 2020 is officially over, but you never know when we might have a relapse (half joking). Power outages are common during winter storms, so make sure you're prepared with a survival kit. Your winter home maintenance checklist should include stocking up on bottled water, non-perishable food, flashlights, first-aid supplies, batteries and a smart phone charger.  

There is always something to do when you own a home. Keep the value high by addressing maintenance before it becomes an issue. If you have questions about buying or selling a home, please give me a call! Tracy Curtis, Coldwell Banker Realty, 415-910 0599. 

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