While the slow, chilly days of winter may make you feel like simply sitting by the fire and pondering your accomplishments and good times with friends and family over the past year, your home does not suspend its need for upkeep. The good news is that this is actually an ideal time to tend to some jobs that might otherwise be more difficult during the warmer months.
This is a great time to replace door screens with storm doors and repair any broken storm doors from last year to further insulate your home. And, while you’re at it, repair any missing caulk around windows and doors to prevent cold air from seeping through. Install weather-stripping on doors leading to the outside, as well.
Check your roof for damage or missing shingles. If possible, check the underside of your roof for stains or leaks which can indicate water penetration. Most roofers can work on roofs in the winter provided they are dry, so this is a good time to engage them for repairs or replacement when they are less busy. Also, remove any tree branches hanging over your roof.
Clean your chimney before the first fire of the season and have your chimney checked for cracks and leaks. Also, check your foundation walls for cracks and your crawlspace for moisture.
Diligently keep your gutters clean and free of debris. Remove any leaf and debris buildup in window wells. Extend downspouts away from the foundation and evaluate any grading issues that would prevent water from flowing away from the home.
Spring and summer will return eventually (even though it seems so far away!). Until then, store or cover your patio furniture to protect them from snow and sun. Make sure you have appropriate shovels and salt and/or sand for snow and test your snow removal equipment.
Reverse ceiling fans to direct heat downward. Check attic vents for bird and squirrel nests and other pests trying to winter inside. Make sure you have at least one current fire extinguisher in a central location.
Insulation and Ventilation
Make sure attic louvers and vents are open and clear of obstruction. If you don’t have proper attic insulation, this is a great time to install this important element. Clean your dryer vent (or have it professionally cleaned).
A visual inspection of your wiring and cables, looking for wear and damage, is easy and can be life-saving. Test and reset your GFCI and AFCI outlets and breakers and replace if not functioning properly.
Change your air filters more often when your HVAC system is in peak use (same goes for summer). Have a professional HVAC contractor service your system for the winter. Vacuum radiators, baseboards and air registers.
Check your toilets for leaks inside the tanks. Check all fixtures for leaks. Check tile joints, grout, and caulking. Remove and store hoses and winterize spigots.
For many contractors, spring, summer and fall are their busiest seasons, so winter provides an opportunity to perform needed repairs and maintenance. You will get more attentive service and have better access to skilled tradespeople during this traditionally slower time.