Disclosure: This is a sponsored post by American Home Shield, all opinions are strictly my own.
Now that the holidays are behind us, and the New Year upon us, it’s time to get refocused on winter maintenance for our homes. Between protecting the exterior of the home from harsher winter weather like snow and ice, to keeping the interior warm regardless of the dropping temperatures outside, certain winter maintenance tasks are essential. This season, I’ve paired up with American Home Shield (AHS), the nation’s largest provider of home warranties, to help make your home warmer and safer this winter. If you remember last year, I showed you how to get your New Year’s Resolutions Home Maintenance Checklist ready. This year, I will show you tips for snow/ice removal, furnace maintenance, fireplace safety and keeping out the cold with your doors and windows.
Keep your Exterior Winter Home Safe with Snow/Ice Removal Tips:
I’m originally from Colorado and I can remember having to get up two hours early in college to help my dad shovel the driveway, walkway, and steps so that we wouldn’t slip and fall. I also remember shoveling the sidewalk outside of our driveway to ensure our neighbors were kept safe as well. While I didn’t love these winter chores, I can now see why it was so essential!
Remember These Points When Shoveling Snow:
Have the proper tools for your shoveling before you get started. Old shovels from years past could be more of a hindrance than good. Broken shovels, old handles, and worn tools can create a dangerous hazard for you as you shovel and can make you exert yourself twice as hard.
Did you wait too long to start shoveling, and now your driveway is iced over? Try these ice-melting agents! From table salt and sugar to fertilizer, these agents can help melt ice and help you get back to shoveling.
Ice Buildup on your Exterior Home can Cause Improper Drainage:
Keeping your home warm can often start with your roof. In the wintertime, the stability of your roof is often one of the most overlooked areas of your home’s exterior. It not only keeps out the cold air and elements but also helps your insulation do its job, to keep in your heat. Ice and snow buildup around your roof shingles and gutters could cause ice dams and lead to future damage.
Watch this video from AHS: How to Prevent Ice Damage:
I love the tips in the video about using vents to ensure good air circulation in your attic! We often think of circulation in the summer months but often forget this is essential in the wintertime as well.
Furnace Maintenance can bring in More Warmth & Lower Energy Bills:
Your furnace is probably the hardest working appliance in your home during the winter months. Ensuring that you keep your electric furnace or gas furnace operating at its optimal capacity can help your family stay warmer and can also keep your energy bills from creeping higher and higher.
If you have noticed your heat isn’t as warm as before, it could mean your furnace isn’t running at its optimal level. Turn on your thermostat to heat and see how long it takes to respond. If you have an older thermostat, consider installing a programmable thermostat. These tips from AHS will help you understand how to adjust your thermostat to the changing seasons.
Hiring a professional HVAC service/repair service is very important as they can perform an overall inspection of your system – not only making sure it’s safe to operate, but also taking care of routine maintenance that can extend the life of your unit. You can also try:
- Inspecting your furnace on your own: Debris buildup on the floor behind your unit, exposed wires and checking the overall unit for wear and tear over the years is important.
Take a look at this AHS Video: Heating Repair & Maintenance: How to Inspect A Furnace:
- Furnace maintenance: Check your air filter monthly to make sure it is clean and is enabling air to filter through it more efficiently. A clean air filter can keep your home warmer, can cut down on energy costs and can improve your indoor air quality.
- Checking the seal around your HVAC unit: As shown in the video above, check to see if your ducts, doors, and all seams are sealed and not letting air seep in or out of your furnace.
- Inspect your ducts throughout your home: In your attic look to see that your ducts are all still wrapped up in their original insulation. If there are any that are pulling away from the inner duct, consider calling an HVAC professional to rewrap the ducts.
How to Warm Up your Chilly Home with a Clean Fireplace:
Winter and fall are the coldest times of the year and therefore put your fireplace front and center throughout the season. Your fireplace can be the best part of a chilly evening, or the worst in terms of fire safety. Take a look at these tips for keeping a clean fireplace to keep you and your family safe from harm.
Ensure Your Chimney Is Clean For The Cold Season:
Keeping your fireplace clean from season to season is important for your safety as well as getting the most heat! If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your own fireplace, consider hiring a chimney sweep or professional chimney cleaning/repair service to assist you. If you prefer to do it yourself, wait three days after the last time you burned wood in it. This ensures there are no embers still burning and you won’t accidentally encounter them.
Follow These Fireplace Cleaning Steps For Fireplace Safety:
AHS Video: How To Clean your Fireplace:
Didn’t you like the tip about sprinkling coffee grounds to prevent puffing? I know the last time we cleaned out our fireplace I felt like I needed a ventilator mask from all of the ash dust! Yeah, I should’ve used this pro tip. J
Keep Your Home Warm By Sealing Up
Drafty Windows And Doors:
There’s nothing worse than sitting in your warm home and feeling a cold draft of air seeping through the windows or doors! Over time, your windows and doors can leak air for numerous reasons.
Whether your caulking is old and needs replacing or weather stripping in the jamb and sill of your doors/windows are failing, there are common areas where air leaks can occur:
- Sill plates
- Door frames
- Window frames
- Chimney flashing
- Outlets and switches
- Recessed lighting
- Attic entrance
On a day that has a little bit of a breeze walk around the exterior and interior of your home and see how the airtightness is holding up around all of the above-mentioned areas. With a caulking gun and a tube of caulk, seal up any cracks and air spaces on the exterior of your home. Also pay close attention to air leaks where plumbing, ducts, and wiring come through the walls or floors.
Window Insulating & Sealing Off Air Leaks Can Help
Take a look at these window insulating ideas from AHS for a warmer home this winter.
If you feel air coming from beneath your doors on the interior of your home, consider installing a door sweep to keep out drafts and use weather stripping along the jamb to create a tight seal when the door closes.
If your home’s windows are over 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing them with energy efficient windows. If you’re on a tight budget and cold air is seeping in around your windows, try an insulation film kit you can get at your local home improvement store.
This winter, you can help keep out drafts and keep your home warmer by using these helpful tips. Check your home’s furnace, chimney, and windows/doors to keep your interiors comfortable from the winter cold. Outside the home, keep your walkways clear with the snow shoveling tips and make sure you monitor your roof to avoid ice dams and damage. This season your winter home is going to be the warmest ever!