Annually preparing your home for winter is an important task every homeowner should take. The following winter maintenance tips provided by Travelers can help you prepare your home to withstand another cold season.
Your Heating System
- Have your furnace or boiler checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year, preferably before the heating season begins.
- Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems.
- Have your chimney checked and serviced by a licensed contractor at least once a year.
- Have your fuel tanks filled and keep an eye on levels throughout the winter.
- Set your heat no lower than 55 degrees as the temperature inside the walls where water piping is located is colder than the living spaces; open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.
- Maintain your wood-burning or pellet stoves according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Add extra insulation in the attic. If too much heat escapes into the attic, it can warm the ice and snow on the roof. When it refreezes, it can cause an ice dam, which can lead to water damage inside your home or possibly even a roof collapse.
- Add weather stripping around doors and caulk windows to guard against drafts and heat loss.
- Check for water leaks and fix problems immediately; wrap water piping in UL-Listed heat tape and insulate if it is exposed in unheated areas such as garages, crawl spaces or attics. Use only thermostatically-controlled heat tape if your water piping is plastic.
- Learn how to shut off your water and know where your pipes are located in case they do freeze; you may be able to prevent water damage.
Your Winter Safety Measures
- Trim trees and remove dead branches so they do not damage your home or injure someone if they fall because of ice, snow or wind.
- Keep gutters clear of leaves, sticks and other debris to help ensure melting snow can drain properly. Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation.
- Repair steps and handrails to make them safer in the ice and snow.
- Check smoke detectors, fire alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries to ensure they are operating properly.
Your Key Supplies and Equipment
- Make sure you have snow shovels and a roof rake on hand. Stock your ice melting compound to melt ice on walkways.
- Have your snow blower and generator serviced and any necessary repairs made.
- Keep fuel for snow blowers and generators in approved safety containers and away from heat or flame-producing devices. Do not store fuel in your basement.
Read the full Travelers article and download the “Winter Home Maintenance Checklist” here.