Maintaining your home during the winter season requires a little additional effort beyond shoveling snow; attention to detail will help ensure your family stays safe, your home’s systems are functioning properly, and with a few of these tips you can even save some money off energy costs.
As a home owner you’ll need to be observant throughout the winter. If this is your first winter in your new home I recommend the following home maintenance tips: look for things like frost development on the inside of your windows, does the snow typically drift in a particular spot on your property, does the snow on your roof melt quicker than the snow on other homes in your neighborhood, etc.? Answers to these questions can help you save money and keep your family safe.
Frost development on the interior of windows indicates cold air from the exterior is passing through the wall and when it meets the warm air inside, it condenses and freezes to the window. When the ice melts it usually runs down to the trim and wall structure below the window (if the windows are vinyl). If your home has wood windows the result is usually development of organic growth or decay of the window sash. One way to fix this is to install plastic window seal kits from a local hardware store. The key when installing these kits is to heat the plastic from the interior allowing it to shrink and tighten around the window creating a strong seal.
Drifting snow around the perimeter of your home can prevent gas meters, furnaces, water heaters, or even basement shower & dryer venting from functioning properly. After snowfalls or windy days I recommend walking the perimeter of your home and clearing drifts from your natural gas meter or LP gas regulator, removing snow from around PVC exhaust or air intake pipes, and from louvered exhaust venting from bathroom or laundry rooms. Snow that has accumulated around these areas will prevent proper operation and in some cases could cause noxious gasses like carbon monoxide to remain in your home, causing a potentially deadly situation.
If you or your neighbor have a fire hydrant on or adjacent to your property I recommend moving snow away from the hydrant and creating a path to the hydrant through the snow. This will help your local fire department when they need to access the hydrant during emergencies.
Melting snow from your roof, if it occurs quicker than your neighbors, could indicate a lack of insulation in your attic space or inadequate ventilation. If you notice this condition I recommend contacting a licensed contractor to evaluate your attic and roof space. I also recommend monitoring your eaves for the potential development of ice damming. Ice damming can quickly degrade a good roof and cause moisture intrusion. A licensed roofer can evaluate your roof if you’re concerned about ice forming on your eaves below the snow.
For more tips and tricks on winter home maintenance I recommend reading this article from the Family Handyman website (click here). During the winter months make sure to be observant of your home and how it functions in the winter; a little extra time can help protect your investment and keep your family safe!