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A Winter Home Maintenance Checklist to Handle the Cold

Winter’s upon us, and as the holiday season settles in, we gather the family ‘round and let the festivities kick in. While all of that is the good stuff, winter’s got some bad stuff up its sleeve too, especially for your sweet abode. Thankfully, maintenance work and due diligence can help. Our homes tend to protect us a lot better when we take care of them. Besides, the cost of maintaining your home is almost always less than repairing the damage.

We’ve compiled a nifty winter home maintenance checklist to lead you along. Be it snow, sleet or winter storms, the big freezy conclusion to the year should remain an absolute breeze for you. 

Lighting maintenance

1. Lighten up!

 Outdoor lighting isn’t just about enhancing aesthetic appeal, but also safety. When there’s minimal natural lighting and rather treacherous territory to contend with, you need sufficient lighting to cover the area, especially around entrances. Lighting up the pathways is essential so you aren’t bumbling around at night. Get yourself some good outdoor lighting to not only add serious zing to your home’s appearance, but to avoid a painful tumble.

2. Run maintenance on your lighting system
Part of outdoor lighting is to ensure that your system can handle the rigors of winter. Make sure the lighting transformer is in good shape, and check the wiring and connectors. Keep your lighting fixtures cleaned off — don’t allow ice and debris to collect — and you should be golden.

3. Automate your lighting system
Given that the days will be shorter, set a timer for your lights to come on early. Not only will you have your front yard lit up at all times, you save energy.

Inclement weather prep

1. Get storm windows ready,
Your window screens might be overdue for a replacement. Even if you don’t use storm windows, it is good to replace or repair screens, tighten shutters, and be sure that windows seal completely before storms are in motion.

2. Waterproof and get that sump pump in order!
Seal any cracks in the walls, and make sure the sump pump in the basement is working properly. If you haven’t already cleaned debris out of gutters, do so now. Make sure gutters are attached correctly and are taking the water away from your house rather than routing it back to you.

3. Be ready for chaos.
Along with installing storm windows and doors, trim any tree branches surrounding your home to ensure minimal structural damage. Stock up on essential supplies to handle storms: salt for walkways, a good snow shovel, hand warmers, and thick work gloves, an ice scraper, flashlights, and batteries. Check that pipes are well-insulated and go through the efficiency tips below to ensure that your home retains heat. 

Winter home efficiency checklist

1. Look after the thermostat.
You might as well practice a bit of austerity in terms of using the heating system. If you turn down the thermostat a little, you can make some real savings. A favorite homeowner tip for the winter we swear by is reversing the ceiling fans. Have it run in a clockwise direction after you turn on the heat. This creates an updraft and brings down some of the hot air that rises to the ceiling. It’s a pretty neat way of saving energy while staying comfortable.

2. Get a ’Home Energy Audit’ done.
A Home Energy Audit basically entails a professional attaching a blower to your door to create suction and then seeking out any cracks where the air might seep through. This might sound simple, but it can make a ton of difference. A few tweaks to your home can save energy and keep you more comfortable in winter. 

3.  Replace the weather-stripping
Weather-stripping comes in many forms and is sometimes overlooked in the grand scheme of things. Over time, it wears off and needs changing. You may also need to reapply caulk; consider silicone caulk, which does not shrink and largely remains unaffected by elements on the outside.

With a bit of smart maintenance and good preparation, you can take the proverbial chill pill. Relax, do a little spring garden planning, and stay cozy all winter long.

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