Insulation inside an attic

Winter Home Maintenance: Insulate, Vents & Programmable Thermostats

Are you taking time off during the holidays? If you're not traveling, put a few items from our Winter Home Maintenance Checklist on your to-do list. You also can outsource the tasks to us instead and spend days off with friends and family.

Insulate the Attic and Any Exposed Pipes or Spigots

Insulation Attic

Are your feet always cold in the winter? Because the warm air seems to get sucked up and out through the attic? You may need to add insulation to the space. If you have previous experience determining the R-value-the capacity of insulation material to resist heat flow-recommended for the ceiling, floor and walls of your type of structure , revisit the formula to ensure you have the necessary products in place. If you have never before done this type of calculation and comparison, consider assigning it to your professional handyman, who can then add insulation to stop the warm air from escaping.

Also unhook and store any garden hoses and install or check and replace insulation as needed on the exposed pipes and spigots. We also recommend shutting off water to those faucets, opening and draining the spigot, and installing a faucet insulator, which you can find at your local home improvement store. A burst pipe from freezing weather will certainly put a damper on the holiday festivities.

Clean and Secure Attic and Dryer Vents

Rats and grain

Also add to your list a thorough inspection of vents in the home. While it may not seem as important to keep attic vents clear in the winter-air flowing through the attic in the summer helps keep your home cool-it does have its benefits: Most important on the list, cleaning and securing them to keep rodents out. Animals look for warmth in the winter and can easily enter through vents. Remove any debris and install screening to keep the critters out.

While wild animals in the house are a nuisance, a dryer fire can be a catastrophic event. Keeping the vent for this appliance clear is a must. Again, animals looking for warmth may build a nest in the vent or on the vent, if screened, blocking airflow and turning lint in the venting system into fuel that can catch fire and cause serious damage and even loss of life. The most recent stats from the U.S. Fire Administration tally the number of annual structure fires at 15,600 with 15 deaths and 400 injuries.

You can avoid a dryer fire in your home by cleaning the lint filter after every load and more thoroughly at least once a month. Vacuum lint out of the dryer and exhaust pipe at least every six months. Disconnect, clean and inspect the dryer duct and venting at least once a year. We would be more than happy to take over these tasks as repairs to the system, including the exhaust hose, should be done by a professional.

Install a Programmable Thermostat

Nest Learning Thermostat

Finally, give yourself the gift of a programmable thermostat for the holidays. Such a device can save you approximately $180! There are even smart thermostats such as the Nest that self-program, if you will. It will learn your schedule over time and make adjustments to save energy. It also can be customized to work best with the particular type of heating system you have, such as gas, electric, oil, propane or heat pump, and it even reminds you to change the system's filters. To see how much the Nest could save you, it offers a handy calculator on its website.

If you decide to add a programmable thermostat to your home, simply gives us a call to install.

Mr. Handyman can maintain your home to save you money. One call really does take care of everything on your to-do list. All Mr. Handyman franchises are Fully Insured with General Liability and Workers Compensation. Some services are subject to state and local licensing and may not be available in all locations. Make sure to stay on top of all your household repairs, improvements and maintenance needs and request service in your area.