Winter Maintenance Tips
• Regularly check for ice dams and icicles. De-icing cables that sit at the front of the roof work well. Don’t let icicles grow, as much as the kids may want you to. They’re not only a danger to people standing beneath them, but they’re incredibly heavy and can cause damage to your home. They also can cause water damage to your foundation when they melt.
• Test your electricity to the extent that you can. Always, always be extra careful when working with electricity. You can do a couple things on your own, though. Check that all outlets work; if they don’t, you can re-wire them on your own. Also, test your GFCI outlets. There are wildly varying opinions on how often to test this. Some say monthly, others say annually.If you have doubts or questions, it is always advisable to consult an electrician.
• Tighten any handles, knobs, racks, etc. Go through the house and inspect anything that could have a loose screw.
• Check all locks and deadbolts on your doors and windows. If anything doesn’t work right, replace.
• Check caulking around showers and bathtubs. The caulking will deteriorate over time. Moisture causes it to take on a dark color and also lets water through, which can affect the wall. Reinforce or renew if necessary.
• Remove showerheads and clean sediment. This prolongs its life and helps with water pressure as well.
• Deep clean and inspect the basement. Basements are notoriously overlooked, especially if they’re primarily just storage areas. Dust them up, clean any windows, make sure there isn’t mold anywhere, etc. Give your basement a good inspection at least once a year.
• Maintain a warm temperature at home. It is recommended to keep the thermostat at least 65º F because the inside of the walls, where the water pipes pass is colder than the outside, a lower temperature could cause the pipes to freeze. Also, to keep the heat inside the home. Energy.gov recommends turning the ceiling fans clockwise during the winter to force warm air down from the ceiling. The site also suggests opening curtains during the day to let in the sun’s heat and closing curtains at dusk to retain heat. Another recommendation is to keep the chimney ducts closed when not in use, this can prevent cold air from entering through the chimney.