by Alek Sabin

In the midst of winter, the harsh elements, increased precipitation, and low temperatures can be detrimental to the overall health and wellbeing of your home. However, you can mitigate a lot of winter damage by simply being proactive with specific types of home maintenance before and during the winter season. Following some of these simple guidelines and procedures not only makes a home more enjoyable to live in, but also helps to preserve or improve the value of your home. Here are some examples of simple home maintenance that you should check every winter…

Get Your Heating Ready

First of all, the sudden drops in temperature can come as quite a surprise if your heating system isn’t working the way it should. For this reason, either you or an adequate professional should be checking the furnace around the winter months to make sure that it’s all the way up to the task of keeping the entire house warm and comfortable to be in. In addition, you should also have a professional take a look at your water heater to check if it needs any tune ups to consistently keep your water warm.

There are certain heating things that you can do fairly simply yourself. For example, you can make your water heater a lot more efficient by covering it with an appropriate insulation blanket, or even putting some DIY insulation around some of your pipes.

Check for Pests

You aren’t the only party that is excited to get into a warm home during the cold winter months. Spiders, mice, and all kinds of pests look towards shelter when the the outside air starts to get colder, and they’re planning to stay there until it warms up outside again. For this reason, do a quick sweep to make sure that specific areas aren’t collecting signs of pests, whether it’s rodent waste, spider webs, or other disturbing things. Rooms that pests like to get into include your kitchen, specifically any food storage areas, as well as damp and dark areas with lots of hiding places.

If you want to be proactive, checking for cracks in the caulking around doors and windows is a good idea to make sure there isn’t an easy point of entry for pests.

Prepare Your Exterior

There are some pretty easy chores that you can do around the exterior of your home to make sure that you’re preventing winter damage. One of the easiest of these things is to get up on a ladder and check your rain gutters to make sure that they are free of leaves and other debris. Clogged rain gutters can freeze when it starts to snow, which will cause mud and water to expand and break the rain gutters, or at least prevent drainage from happening. Likewise, while you’re up there, you should do a quick inspection of your shingles and roofing to check for any signs of leaks. Areas where shingles are broken or disheveled could be big warning signs.

Checking around your yard for fallen branches from fall can help prevent damage to windows or siding that may occur during particularly harsh storms, which can pick up those branches and cause some real harm. Also, it’s probably a good idea to check if your garage door is in need of a simple lube n tune before the cold temperatures can cause mechanical failures and malfunctions.

Be Energy Smart

Most people expect their energy bill to climb during the winter months, and while that might be common, it doesn’t have to be as extreme as people think it is. Taking some steps to add better insulation to your home can save you hundreds of dollars in heating costs throughout the season. Simple ways to do this are to include weather stripping to the area around your doors and windows, as well as swapping out the filters on your HVAC to ensure it is operating at maximum efficiency.
Another key area that many people forget to take care of with insulation is with their garage, which can act as a giant refrigerator that is attached to the side of your home and putting all sorts of strain on your heating system. One step you can take to combat this is to install an insulated garage door to keep the cold air from seeping into your garage.