As the weather gets hazy and the nights get cold, taking care of your home is never more important. Winter is a harsh month on your home and you need to make sure that you are keeping up your most important property. Here are some of the top ways to make sure your home stays in tip top shape during the winter months.
For about $80 to $100, a technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage. If you act soon, you'll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year. Look for a heating and air-conditioning contractor that belongs to the Air Conditioning Contractors of America and employs technicians certified by the North American Technician Excellence (NATE) program.
Look for damaged, loose or missing shingles that may leak during winter’s storms or from melting snow. If need be, hire a handyman to repair a few shingles or a roofer for a larger section. Check and repair breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys, too. If your roof is flat and surfaced with asphalt and pebbles, as many are in the Southwest, rake or blow off fall leaves and pine needles, which hold moisture.
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Check window-glazing putty, which seals glass into the window frame, too. Add weather stripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.
If your gutters are full of detritus, water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim -- plus cause leaks and ice dams.
Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation. This ensures that rain runoff will not pool at the base of your house and cause issues with your foundation when the snow melts.