• Top Five Homeowner Maintenance Tips for Winter

    With winter approaching, it is a great time to focus on some key maintenance items that can help your home run smoothly, efficiently and safely.  These tips can be completed by a member of your household or coordinating with a professional to conduct this work is also possible.

    1. Change your air filters
    Making sure you have clean filters prior to use in the winter months will give you a safe and healthy home with clean air filtering through clean filters.  This task is simple and can easily be completed by members of your household.  Securing the correct size air filter will be important as the filter catches the particles that you do not want your family breathing and any gaps based on air filter size can allow these particles to become lose in the air.

    2. Clean out your dryer vents
    Your dryer has a duct connected to the back of it that typically vertically vents up through the roof. Over time, this duct gets lint stuck inside that builds up over time. This lint is very flammable and is often the cause of house fires. It is important for the safety of your home to clean out the lint in your dryer duct to remove this dangerous situation. Removing the lint from your dryer vent will also create an efficient working dryer as air can move more freely through the duct and vents.

    3. Clean out your gutters
    With snow and rain on its way, you will want to clear your gutters so that the run-off water will move through the gutters seamlessly rather than overflowing on to areas of your home or yard and potentially create damage to other parts of your home or landscape.  Clogged gutters can cause water leaks under the eaves and down the exterior walls, which can lead to mold problems. Water in gutters can also freeze and cause ice damns to build up, which can also cause overall damage to your gutters.

    4. Flush or Drain your hot water heater
    Flushing your hot water heater is necessary to remove sediment from the tray.  If this sediment builds up, the hot water heaters will not be functioning and a cold shower will prevail as the weather gets chillier. Additionally, flushing a hot water heater will reduce the risk of causing damage to the tank and piping of the hot water heater.  Your hot water heater will last longer if proper care is done annually.

    5. Clean or check your gas or standard fireplaces 
    Making sure your fireplaces are ready for winter is a safe tip but also an efficient tip.  Using gas or a standard fireplace or woodstove creates heat efficiently throughout your home.  If you have a standard fireplace, make sure you get a professional to sweep and clean the chimney as the soot could be flammable and cause greater problems to your home.  Also test to make sure your damper is working properly.  If your damper gets stuck and will not open properly, you risk smoke being trapped in your fireplace and then making its way into your home causing other damage to your home and your health.

    6. Clean and Unclog Exterior Drains
    Like gutters, exterior drains near your home can become clogged with leaves and debris and can cause an overflow of water that could damage your lawn.  Clogged drains can also cause driving challenges due the water build up which could eventually damage your yard area in other ways  because of cars slipping on the water.  Make sure to take a rake to remove the debris to have rain water free flowing down the drain.

    7. Patio Storage
    With the weather getting colder, the use of outdoor furniture will be limited.  Cleaning and putting away or covering your furniture will protect it from the harsh weather forthcoming.  Moving your patio furniture to dry storage is the best option. However if you do not have enough room in your home, basement or garage for these items, use covers that will hold up to the wind, rain and snow.

    by: Elizabeth Dodson

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    Article by: Elizabeth Dodson

    Elizabeth Dodson is the co-founder of HomeZada, a cloud-based home improvement and organizational software tool.

    HomeZada strives to educate and provide resources for homeowners in all areas of home management, including home improvement projects, maintenance, inventory, property information and property value.
    "Save money improving and maintaining your home while being better organized and prepared."

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