12 Things Homeowners Neglect Every Winter
There are some things you do around the house regularly to help with upkeep and safety—check smoke alarms, wash the windows and repair the chipped tile in the bathroom. But what are you forgetting? Here are 12 things homeowners neglect every winter that they may regret come spring.
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Check for Ice Dams
If your home lacks good insulation and venting, there's a good chance it may be prone to ice dams. Get outside regularly during the winter and check around the house for signs of icicles and large chunks of ice near the edge of your roof. Water melting off the roof pools behind the ice and then seeps back up under the shingles. And sometimes water can work its way 5 or even 10 ft. back up under the shingles. Eventually it drips through the roof into the soffits (the outside overhangs), walls, and worst of all, onto your ceilings.
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Change the Furnace Filter
Homeowners should change their furnace filters once a month, according to experts. And changing the filter regularly not only helps extend the life of your furnace, it helps with air quality in your home and keeps energy costs down.
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Test the Sump Pump
In the spring when the snow melts and the rain saturates the ground, your home's sump pump may be put to the test to keep water at bay. So test it during the winter to ensure you're ready for spring's big thaw.
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Seal Driveway Cracks
If your driveway has cracks that aren't re-sealed before the snow comes, the cold can cause water to freeze and expand in the cracks. And this will leave you with even more damage come spring.
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John E. Heintz Jr./Shutterstock
Clean the Gutters
There's a reason gutter cleaning and maintenance comes up in just about every homeowners maintenance checklist. A debris-clogged gutter with added snow and ice can cause damage to your home, including problems with roof leaks and even foundation problems. And if you cleaned out your gutters in the fall and more leaves got trapped there, you'll need to clean out the gutters again.
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Remove Hoses from outdoor Faucets
It may not seem like a big deal in the fall, but neglecting to unhook garden hoses from outdoor faucets over the winter can result in cracked water pipes. When you use the hose, water is still trapped inside. So be sure to detach the hose, drain the water and close the faucet's shut-off valve.
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Proper insulation will keep your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and cut down on energy costs. It's also a place mice and bats like to call home. And when the weather turns cold, do a check of your insulation—especially in your attic—to ensure there are no unwanted guests.
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Clear Snow Away from Vents
During the winter months, regularly check your outdoor vents—such as your furnace and dryer vents—to make sure they are clear of snow and ice. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to build up.
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Fix Air Leaks from Windows and Doors
Neglecting to remedy any air leaks from windows and doors can lead to condensation, which can lead to mold. And make sure all windows and doors have proper weather stripping before the cold and snow arrives. In addition to preventing condensation and mold, it will help keep your energy bills down.
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Clean the Chimney
If you use your fireplace, be sure to have it and the chimney cleaned before that first fire of the season. And this will ensure there's no buildup of harmful creosote or any debris such as leaves or bird nests, which can become a fire hazard.
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Homeowners should do regular exterior checks for any holes in the home's foundation, along with any holes in the wood around door frames and windows. And not only can these holes allow water to seep in, but they can be an entry points for pests such as mice, rats and squirrels in search of a warm home.
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Heavy snow, ice and strong winds can wreak havoc on tree branches. So be sure to remove dead or damaged trees and limbs to protect your home over the harsh winter months.
Originally Published: January 23, 2018