The harsh conditions of winter can easily damage your home if you don’t put preventions in place. It may seem like hard work, especially if the winter season is brutal, but it’s necessary to keep your home safe and well-kept. The good news is, there are a lot of tips and tricks for making this process as easy as possible. Of course, you’ll need to leave things like ice dam removal to the pros, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything on your own.
Here are some DIY ways to care for your home this winter:
1. Keep Your Pipes from Freezing
Water freezing inside pipes and causing them to burst is one of the most common issues faced by homeowners in the winter. Not only is this inconvenient since it can lead to flooding, but it’s expensive to repair.
However, you can take several inexpensive precautions to ensure that this doesn’t happen to you.
- Set your thermostat higher than you normally would. Sixty-five degrees is the recommended temperature since you won’t be paying too much extra and it keeps your pipes above freezing temperatures.
- Get some pipe insulation.
- Let faucets drip slightly if you’re going to be away.
- Open your cabinets so heat reaches exterior pipes.
2. Clear Your Yard
Trimming trees and removing dead branches is important to do before any real winter weather sets in, especially if you have several trees that are very close to your vehicle and your home. Snow and wind from winter storms can weaken trees, causing branches to fall. Winter storms have even been known to blow entire trees over. Dead trees and branches are much more likely to fall, so targeting these first is best.
3. Seal Any Cracks
Caulking holes and openings around door frames are essential for preventing cold air from seeping into your home, resulting in a higher than necessary electric bill. You can find inexpensive weather stripping and seals for around your windows, mail chutes, air conditioners, and doors that you don’t use during the winter.
4. Keep Your Driveways and Walkways Safe
We all know people are more likely to fall and injure themselves when the ground is icy and full of snow. Keeping your walkways clear of debris is important since snow covers any dips or rocks that may obstruct the path. You’ll also want to repair any damage to things like handrails since these are used more often during the winter to keep balance or protect from a fall. Keeping a large stash of salt, gravel or even kitty litter around is also a good idea since they can be used to spread on the ice and create grip for walking.
5. Check Your Fire Detectors and Chimneys
Residential fires are actually more common in the winter months, so it’s vital that all of your fire detectors are working properly. These should be checked on a monthly basis anyway, but they are even more important in the winter. In addition to fire detectors, you might also want to invest in a carbon monoxide detector to avoid accidentally trapping toxic gas in your home. This also happens more frequently during the winter months, since large piles of snow or too much insulation can have that effect.
There’s no need to fear the winter months as long as you take the following precautions. Checking your detectors, keeping pathways safe, sealing cracks and openings, clearing your yard, and preventing your pipes from freezing are all easily done with little expense or effort. Not only does this save you the stress, but it allows you to save your money for large-scale repairs or upkeep that can only be done by a professional.