Winter brings with it many potential hazards for homeowners, including frozen pipes, indoor allergens, heating and cooling unit failure, fire and carbon monoxide dangers. In fact, there’s a greater risk of home fires in the winter when people are using space heaters, cooking holiday feasts, and hanging electric decorations.
With this list of easy-to-finish maintenance tasks, you can avoid many of the expensive, inconvenient, and dangerous situations that can ruin your holidays and your home’s value.
Check Your Heat Tape
Redfin says it best in their home maintenance guide: “You can’t control the weather, but you can control the effect cold temperatures have on your pipes.” If you haven’t checked your pipes since last winter, do it today. Fall is the perfect time to get this task out of the way before the snow comes, the temperature drops, and it’s too late. If your pipe cracks in the cold temperatures, your home may see significant water damage, and as the water sits, you likely will have a major mold problem as well.
The best way to prevent frozen pipes is to insulate them, especially if they are exposed or subjected to low temperatures in a crawlspace or attic. Heat tape or cables can be wrapped around pipes to prevent them from freezing. Just make sure to use the appropriate external or internal product and carefully follow the installation instructions, as improperly installed equipment can serve as a fire hazard.
You’ll also want to remove any external garden hoses from your home and allow those pipes to drain. Otherwise, any water that remains within the pipe can freeze and cause damage.
If you suspect your pipes are beginning to freeze or your power goes out during the winter months, you can trickle hot water from your kitchen and bathroom faucets to prevent the lines from freezing solid. While this isn’t a long-term plan, it can buy you enough time to apply heat tape or some other form of insulation.
Replace Your Furnace’s Air Filters
It doesn’t seem like a balanced trade-off, but that $15 air filter could easily save you thousands of dollars. That’s because clogged and dirty air filters are the most common cause of furnace and central air conditioning unit malfunction and breakage.
Not only do air filters extend the life of your HVAC unit, they also help to keep your energy costs down. According to the Department of Energy, the average household spends somewhere around $2,200 a year on energy, but that cost could be 5 to 15 percent lower for those who regularly change their air filters. Not only do you gain savings, you’ll also be breathing better-filtered air with less indoor allergens, and your air ducts will stay cleaner as well.
Test Your Detectors
You know that smoke detectors save lives, but just how many lives are we talking about? Well, if you consider that three out of five home fire deaths involved properties without working smoke alarms, you can significantly decrease your risk just by ensuring that your smoke detectors are in working condition.
This same principle goes for carbon monoxide detectors as well. Carbon monoxide is an invisible and odorless gas that can be very dangerous and even fatal. Fire departments throughout the United States routinely respond to many carbon monoxide emergency calls. It’s imperative for your family’s safety that your carbon monoxide detector is working.
While these home maintenance tasks seem minor at first glance, it’s clear that they can have major influence over the state of your home and the cost of maintaining it. Some simple, seasonal maintenance can save you thousands of dollars and maybe even your life.
Note: This month’s blog was by Paul Denikin. Visit his site at http://dadknowsdiy.com/