It’s hard to believe we’re already in the last few months of 2019! Fall is just about here, which means the busy hustle and bustle of the holidays is just around the corner. While most people enjoy the holidays and the change of pace that it entails, it can easily be one of the most stressful times – for homeowners in particular. Not only do you have to think about gift shopping, special events, unusual work schedules, and potential traveling, but you also have to prepare your home to endure the harsh weather and elements that come with the season. Unfortunately, cooler, wetter weather can wreak havoc on your house if it has not been properly maintained!
Because no one wants to be hit with an unexpected home repair bill during the already expensive holiday season, the best thing you can do is make a conscious effort to prep your home throughout the weeks leading up to winter. You might think it’s not a big deal; why fix something if it’s not broken? The answer is that, more often than not, the expense of an emergency home repair far exceeds the cost of maintenance before the damage is done. Similar to the expression “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” it’s in your best interest to keep your home in great working order instead of waiting until something goes wrong to address an issue.
On top of the additional expense, it’s much more difficult to find a professional that is available to provide their services during the holidays. Most businesses have shorter hours and are closed for multiple days, meaning their available work schedules fill up much more quickly. It can be extremely frustrating to call one handyman after another only to hear that no one has any time to fit you in right before the holidays. Save yourself the struggle and get these things done ahead of time!
Here are a few home maintenance projects you should consider having done before the cold winter months arrive:
1. Clean out the gutters
As much as we all hate to do it, cleaning out the gutters is a must. Clogged gutters can be a dangerous hazard during the winter months. Water and debris freezing in the gutters can make them very heavy, causing them to break and fall. Not only can this be dangerous to you, but it can also cause serious damage to your home. Who wants to pay for gutter repair or replacement when cleaning them out a few times a year can easily prevent this problem?
2. Inspect the roof for damage
While you’re up cleaning your gutters out, take a look at the roof to ensure it’s in good condition. Loose, damaged, or missing shingles can allow for severe water damage if not addresses in a timely manner. While spring is typically the better time to have roof work done, it’s important not to put off repairs if you see damaged areas in your roof – doing so could end up costing your hundreds or even thousands in water damage repair later on!
3. Disconnect garden hoses & turn off valves
Another exterior project is to remove all garden hoses. Be sure to turn off all exterior valves and remove all hoses until springtime to prevent freezing and bursting pipes throughout your home.
4. Clean the fireplace
Living in Texas, we don’t get to use our fireplaces as often as some of us would like. Unfortunately, that also means we don’t clean them out as often as we should. It’s a good idea to contact a chimney sweep to have both your fireplace box and the chimney emptied and cleaned before winter to ensure it’s safe and ready for use. This can prevent dangerous smoke inhalation and reduce the risk of a home fire.
5. Flush the water heater
Flush your hot water tank to remove sediment and ensure it’s in working order. Taking an icy cold shower in the winter is not fun, and neither is the bill to have the hot water heater fixed due to poor routine maintenance.
6. Wrap indoor pipes exposed to exterior walls
Indoor piping can freeze and burst in the cold months, so all exposed piping should be wrapped. This might sound like a hassle, but it’s much easier to do this than to repair ice-filled pipes in the middle of winter.
7. Ensure smoke & carbon monoxide detectors work
Cold weather requires heating the home, which unfortunately comes with an increased risk of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. Checking your detectors should be done routinely throughout the year, but even more so before the cooler months when these risks are higher. This is probably one of the easiest things you can do to protect your home and your loved ones!
8. Replace damaged siding
Exterior siding is your home’s first defense against the elements, so big problems can arise if it is not well maintained. Cracked siding or sections that have begun to separate from the house could allow water, snow, and ice inside, which may lead to wood rot. Repairing old or damaged siding can be a preventative step that may save you thousands of dollars that could easily add up over just one winter season.
9. Check the heating system
There are few things worse than not having heat when it’s cold outside. It’s well worth it to have an HVAC expert inspect your heating system in the fall before the bitter cold weather sets in. You’ll be glad to know it’s working safely and correctly when the outside temperatures start to drop, and you can also avoid long wait times when there is less demand for this type of work.
10. Weather-strip doors & windows
While cold air coming in around windows and doors is not something that will cause huge problems or costly repairs like the other things on this list, it is still something we recommend doing before winter. Having a tight seal will keep cold air out and warm air in, making your home much more comfortable and saving your money on your electric bill. Applying new weather stripping and caulking is easier and more successful if done during warm weather when the materials are more pliable.
These should not be the only things on your pre-winter to-do list, but they are certainly a great place to start. If you need help with some of these or other home maintenance projects, our handyman department can help!
Mike’s Guys Handyman & Construction is a division of Medford Design-Build, with the purpose of helping our clients with a wide range of small renovations, home maintenance projects, and repairs. We would be happy to send one of our skilled craftsmen out to your home to help with your list of to-do’s prior to the winter season. Contact us today for more information!