Home Sweet Home: 13 Winter Home Repair Services
If you're a homeowner, then you know that home maintenance and repair are part of the home ownership experience.
Even if you own a newer home, it's crucial that you repair things that are broken and that you maintain your home so things don't break or degrade in the first place.
A time of year when home maintenance and repair is especially important is in the wintertime. There are a number of different home maintenance tasks that you simply must perform before winter sets in each year. Plus, there are other tasks you should do during, or throughout, the winter months for ongoing upkeep.
However, even with meticulous maintenance, you still may find that you have a need for home repair services during the winter months.
No one wants to spend a lot of time outdoors doing household tasks when the temperature is below freezing—especially if self-repairs are a losing battle.
Read on to find out what you can do to maintain your home in the winter to keep it at its best. Also, learn how to spot if it's time to call in an expert to complete a task instead of trying to do it yourself.
1. Seal Windows and Doors
One of the first and easiest winter maintenance tasks for homeowners is the sealing of gaps in windows and doors to prevent drafts and general heat loss. This is a task that you will likely need to do every year; buildings shift as time goes on, and new openings will appear. Further, windows deteriorate as the years pass and this can result in a great deal of leakage.
In most cases, this is a job you can do yourself. Often you can see gaps between the seals around windows and doors with the naked eye. Other times you just know they're there because you can feel cool air coming through.
You can seal these openings with weatherstripping. This comes in a number of different materials and styles. Self-stick plastic, felt, or foam-tape weatherstripping is easy to apply, but it doesn't last long. Bronze or tubular rubber, vinyl, or silicone weatherstripping, on the other hand, can last up to a decade but it can be more challenging to put on.
2. Clean and Repair Your Gutters
Winters in Texas are usually pretty dry, but rainfall in the autumn can lead to messy, clogged gutters as winter begins. You should clean out your gutters several times a year, but this task is something that should always be on your maintenance checklist as wintertime approaches.
Clogged gutters can result in overflowing which can cause breakage. Further, standing water in your gutters in the winter can freeze which can also cause immense damage.
Gutter cleaning is one home maintenance service that people often hire others to do for them, but you can do it yourself with a ladder and a small shovel. After you've removed all the leaves, you can rinse the gutters out with your hose.
It's possible to repair some gutter breakage on your own, but in many cases, you may need to hire help to achieve the best results.
3. Make Sure Your Heating System is Ready
You don't want to be caught off-guard when the cold weather arrives. You want to make sure that your heat is ready and able to start working right away.
Depending on the type of heating system in your house, different maintenance and preparation steps are necessary. Gas heating systems should be professionally maintained every three years, and boiler systems can benefit from yearly maintenance visits. If you have a fireplace, you should have your chimney cleaned by a chimney sweep.
All of the above maintenance tasks will ensure that you are warm during the winter, but furthermore, they will keep you and your loved ones safe from potential fires. They will also help you to keep your heating systems functional and long-lasting. A new heating system can be very expensive. Although you'll spend a lot on maintenance, it's far less than you might need to spend on replacement.
4. Clear Your Dryer Vents
It's wise to clean out your dryer vents on a regular basis and it's a great thing to do as winter begins. Dryers cause thousands of fires each year nationwide and, more often than not, excessive lint in the vents contributes to this dangerous problem.
This is a task you can do on your own. Detach the dryer vents from the dryer and vacuum them out with a long hose attachment. Then, reattach the vents and run the dryer for a bit; the forced air will help to remove the remaining lint.
5. Perform Roof Maintenance
One of the most common and popular home repair services in the fall or early winter is roof maintenance. Over the years your roof goes through so much while it protects your house from above. Intense sun, rain, wind, frost, and more all cause wear and tear, so you need to check to make sure it is in good shape time and time again.
If you are afraid to go up on your roof yourself, you can hire a Frisco handyman to do a roof maintenance check for you. He or she can look for loose shingles and make sure they are reattached. The handyman can also check for drainage patterns to make sure water is sliding off your roof the way it should.
Lack of roof drainage can cause a lot of damage in the winter. Water that sits on a roof can freeze and that can cause a wide variety of problems later on. Water drainage is one way to combat this, but proper insulation and ventilation in your attic can help as well. If you find that water is freezing on your roof, you may want to have someone come by to evaluate the overall temperature of your roof in winter.
6. Prepare Your Storm Resources
It's always wise to be prepared for a storm before a storm actually happens. We don't get many snowstorms in the Frisco area, and we are mostly safe from hurricanes as well. However, when hurricanes do hit the gulf, we are inundated with heavy rain so you need to be ready for it. Freezing rain and hail in the winter can also cause power outages and more.
If you own a generator, it's wise to check to make sure it's working before winter fully arrives. Make sure you have candles and flashlights on hand and a functional solar or battery-powered radio too.
Get a few jugs of water and some snacks and keep them on hand for emergencies as well. It's likely that you won't need any of these things, but when it comes to emergency preparedness, it's better to be safe than sorry.
7. Check Basement Window Wells
If your home has a basement, you may have some window wells around the edge of your foundation to let light into your subterranean floor. However, if you don't properly maintain these spaces, you can end up with water in your basement or even a damaged foundation.
Make sure you take time at the beginning of the winter to remove leaves and other debris from your window wells. Then, check your window well liners. Make sure they are attached to your foundation wall and that no dirt or pebbles can get in there. A small amount of rocks and dirt can let in more water than you might imagine.
If you're not sure if your liners are doing their job, call a Frisco handyman to inspect them for you. He or she can evaluate whether or not they are serving their purpose, and can repair them if they are not meeting your needs.
8. Reverse the Ceiling Fans
This is perhaps the easiest home maintenance task on this list. If you have ceiling fans in your home, you probably already know that the direction they run should be changed twice a year.
For the best results and for optimal heating and cooling efficiency, the blades should turn clockwise in the colder months and counter-clockwise in the warmer months. Heat rises; so when the blades turn in a clockwise direction, heated air will be pushed downward. This can lower your heating bill more than you might imagine.
9. Check Your Insulation
Another way to lower your heating bill is by making sure your insulation is adequate. Not only will proper insulation keep your home warmer in the winter, but it will keep it cooler in the summer too.
Adding insulation is a fairly easy task but it can be cumbersome and difficult to manage. Insulation evaluation and installation is a great job for home repair services providers.
10. Maintain Your Humidifier
Texas can feel extremely dry in the wintertime, so many homeowners have added whole-house humidifiers to their homes. These can do wonders to keep your respiratory system healthy and can improve your overall comfort levels throughout the winter months.
To keep your humidifier running at its best, certain maintenance tasks are required. You need to make sure the drain line is clean and replace the media panel as it gets dirty. You'll also want to clean the fan twice a year.
11. Flush Your Hot Water Tank
Flushing your hot water tank is an easy DIY job that you should complete at least once a year. A great time to complete this task is during your annual winter maintenance check and it will ensure a longer lifespan for this important appliance.
As your hot water tank fills to heat your water, sediment will fall to the bottom. Over time, this sediment will collect and form a layer. Eventually, this can cause the heating element to fail if you don't take the time to drain a little bit of the water out of it to remove this layer. This is a simple task that’s absolutely necessary for preventative maintenance.
If you complete this task and your hot water tank still doesn't seem to be heating as well as it could be, you may have other problems. A home repair service can help you identify the issue and fix it so you don't end up taking cold showers in January.
12. Keep Pipes from Freezing
When the temperature drops, the last thing you want is frozen pipes.
When water freezes, it expands in size. If your exterior pipes are filled with water when this happens, you may end up with a burst pipe on your hands. Water will force itself out of the crack at an alarming rate, causing immense damage to your home and yard.
A long, deep, multi-day freeze is rare in Texas, but it does happen from time to time. Even a night or two of below-freezing temperatures can result in frozen pipes.
Before the weather turns to freezing, you must turn off the water to external pipes and make sure the pipes are drained empty. This is a very easy task; you simply have to remember to do it. However, if you forget, you may end up with a need for more home repair services than you can afford. Make sure you put reminders on your calendar to do this simple home maintenance task every winter.
Pipe insulation can help, too.
13. Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
In order to keep your family safe, you must have functional smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. It's easy to install these and then forget about them, but you must check them at least once or twice a year to make sure they are working.
This simple task can be performed by anyone in the home; your little ones will love the chance to set them off on purpose to find out if the batteries are still fresh. If they're not, you can replace them yourself.
Maintenance and Home Repair Services: Two Necessary Parts of Home Ownership
Maintaining your home can be fun, but it can also feel like a great big hassle.
Still, it's part of the home ownership experience.
No matter what you do, you'll probably have the need for home repair services somewhere down the line as well. If you need help with maintenance or home repair, please contact us. We have experience in all areas of home repair, and we love to help our clients in any way that they want or need.
Please give us a call today. We can't wait to hear from you!