Winter Household Maintenance Tasks
Unless you’re a fan of cold weather, your natural inclination might be to hunker down during the winter and wait for spring’s arrival. However, before going into hibernation mode, there are a few winter home maintenance chores you should attend to:
- Watch for ice dams. An ice dam is a ridge of ice that builds up at the bottom of a roof, trapping snow and melting water behind it. This can allow water to infiltrate the roof. Get in touch with a contractor to fix the problem so it never happens again. Here’s a good overview of ice dams from the National Weather Service.
- Check for drafts. Cold air slipping in around doors and windows can cause higher heating bills. Use this simple trick: light a stick of incense and slowly move it around the seams of doors and windows. When the smoke blows around instead of rising in a straight line, you’ve got a draft. Many gaps can be eliminated by applying a little caulk.
- Test your sump pump. If you have a basement sump pump, make sure the switch is on and pour a little water in the crock to ensure it starts. Many basement leaks occur during upcoming spring thaws, so check it now to be safe. Check the backup battery, too. Review more information on sump pumps from the North Dakota State University.
- Close foundation vents. Crawl space ventilation is good for your home during the spring, summer, and fall. However, during the winter months, closing the vents can help lower your heating costs.
- Cover outdoor air-conditioning units. Snow and ice can damage outdoor air-conditioning units if they aren’t protected. Covers are available at most home improvement stores, but even a secured canvas tarp will do.