Is it just our imagination or winters have become harsher? Whether it is global warming or some other factor, our homes have to take an ever greater pounding from season to season. Cold air, melting snow, and slippery ice takes their toll after several months not only on the outside but on the inside of our home. Winter cares little if you live in a house or an apartment, as the damage it inflicts is of the same volume. Each year we notice something new going wrong, from a loose roof tile to water appearing in the basement. Sometimes, the damage that occurs during winter time goes unnoticed and could jeopardize the structural integrity of the entire edifice. In order for this not to happen, it is useful to have a checklist to go by in order to make sure cold, snow, and ice haven’t caused irreparable damage to our home.
Checking the pipes
The piping system in your house is especially vulnerable because it runs both on the inside and the outside of the house. This means that different parts of the same metal pipes are exposed to extremely different temperatures, weakening their integrity. Special care should be given to pipes that run underneath the house or through the basement as they run the risk of freezing overnight and since ice is heavier than water, the pipe can burst easily. Finally, the garden faucet needs to be shut off at the main valve and totally removed during winter.
Mats at entry points
Winter comes with a lot of snow and plenty of mud. Both of these hitches a ride on your boots inside the house, soiling it in the process. You might think that snow is just water that cannot do much harm when it melts but snow is actually dirty water that will leave a nasty stain on your footwear or the hallway floor. That is why placing rubber mats on both sides of the front door is an ideal solution to prevent the inside of your house from getting dirty. The less cleaning you have to do in spring, the better.
Inspecting the roof
The roof is the first and the only line of defense from the snow and freezing rain coming down from the sky. That is why you should definitely check it once the first sunny days of spring arrive. If there is anything blocking the gutters, pick up a ladder and clean it immediately because the roof requires immaculate drainage. The second most important issue with the roof is possible leaks. The materials installed on the roof get worn out over the years and any flaws start to become apparent. A bit of caulk here and there is not a long-term solution, so you should consider installing lead flashings like the ones Midland lead manufacturers make. Because of its durability, lead is the ideal material to be used in home roofing.
Flushing the hot water tank
In most cases, the hot water tank is located in the basement which is not a great place to spend the winter even if you are a home appliance. Due to a difference in air temperature, sediment forms at the bottom of the tank, so it would be wise to flush it at least once. Furthermore, you can consider adding an extra layer of insulation from the outside to better prepare the tank for next season. If the room is too cold, then the hot water tank will use more energy to operate, resulting in a higher electricity bill at the end of the month. All the energy you save by well maintaining the hot water tank translates into dollars you don’t have to spend.
Clean the AC unit
If the heating inside your home is adequate, you probably haven’t felt the need to turn the air-conditioning on during winter. However, as temperatures outside rising, you will reach for the AC remote sooner than later. Before you do this, the air filter should be cleaned by gentle rinsing in warm water that will clean all the dirt leftover from last summer and winter dust. This action is necessary if you wish to breathe in fresh air during the upcoming summer. A simple swipe of a dust cloth across the outer part of the AC unit is useless, as you need to remove the casing and clean it from the inside.
If the snow caught you by surprise this winter, then don’t let the same thing happen next season. Purchase snow shovels and place them near the garage or the shed door at the end of fall. If you own a snowblower, check whether it is in working condition and change the oil and an odd plug or two if necessary. Winter is the season of the year that requires the biggest preparation!
If you stick to the checklist provided, your home will recuperate from a long winter in a matter of days. From the roof to the basement, every room will be ready for summer delights.