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November 1, 2020

Home Maintenance 101: Winter Tips

By Cantiro Homes

In a new series entitled Home Maintenance 101, we’ll share our essential home maintenance guide and checklist to ensure your home is prepared for the changing seasons. Today, we’ll explore some winter-to-spring home maintenance tips.

As the seasons change, there are always regular home maintenance checks you can do throughout the year to ensure your home is adequately protected against the cold weather and temperature fluctuations.

Check for Condensation and Humidity

Remembering to check for condensation and monitoring humidity levels in your home is a maintenance staple that you should complete year-round regardless if you own an older home or a brand-new one. In fact, the more air-tight and efficient your home is, the more you need to adequately monitor your internal humidity levels.

If you find that condensation or moisture is building up on your windows and doors, it typically means your humidity levels are too high in your home relative to the temperate outside. To help alleviate, you can try:

  • Turning down the humidity in your home;
  • Continuously running your heat recovery ventilator system (HRV) to ensure proper ventilation is achieved;
  • Ensuring your bathroom fans remain on for at least one hour after showering;
  • Always running your hood fan while cooking;
  • Making sure your heat vents are open and clear of any furniture;
  • Leaving your window coverings open to allow for proper air circulation

Alternatively, if you and your family are experiencing dry skin, chapped lips, or notice a build-up in static electricity, it may mean the humidity levels in your home are too low. In this instance, you can:

  • Raise humidity levels with a conventional humidifier;
  • Consider bringing more plants into your home;
  • Skip the dryer and hang your clothes on a drying rack to air dry;
  • Adopt a fish with a mid-sized fish tank

All of these options can help increase the amount of humidity in the surrounding air. Balancing humidity levels in your home can help ensure the longevity of your drywall, window sealant, and hardwood floors as well as promote positive skin health, sleep, and hydration for you and your family.

 

Check for Ice Dams

An ice dam is a ridge of ice that forms on top of your roof and prevents runoff from draining to the surface below. They are caused by the constant freezing and thawing of water as a result of large swings and fluctuations in daily temperatures. Ice dams can also allow water to sit and pool on your roof for extended periods of time.

While typically associated with older homes with a shallow-pitch or flat roofs, all roofs (even on newer homes) should be cleared of snow throughout the winter. If not properly maintained, ice dams can cause severe damage to your roof and eavestroughs.

If not properly maintained, ice dams can cause severe damage to your roof and eavestroughs. To prevent or reduce the buildup of ice dams, be sure to clear your roof of snow (particularly after a large downfall), especially around eavestroughs and the attic as well as any bathroom or kitchen vents on your rooftop.

We recommend avoiding climbing onto your icy roof surface and instead use a roof rake that allows you to safely remove snow from the comfort of the ground. You can learn how to adequately and safely clear snow from your roof here.

Replace Furnace Filter

Your furnace filter improves the quality of air inside your home by removing and preventing dust, hair and other contaminants from being recirculated by your fans and ducts

A dirty or clogged furnace filter can limit air flow, decrease air quality in your home, and potentially cause serious damage to your furnace.

At the very least you should be inspecting and replacing your furnace filter on a regular basis throughout the winter months (approximately every 60-90 days).

 

Check Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors

This is another home maintenance test that should be done on a regular basis (monthly is advised but at the very least seasonally).

Ensure your COand smoke detectors are in proper working order by pushing the ‘test’ button and replacing batteries when required to give you the peace of mind that you and your family are safe and well protected.

Please note, all carbon monoxide and smoke detectors do eventually expire and require replacing. You can typically find the expiry date for all detectors stamped on the side of the device.

Check Caulking and Weatherstripping

Thoroughly sealing your home’s windows and doors should be done each fall prior to the colder weather months. However, it’s better late than never. Ensure you’re checking around your windows and doors for proper weatherstripping and sufficient caulking.

If you notice a draft or air leak, it could be a sign of gaps in your caulking, insufficient weatherstripping, or a door that requires an adjustment to the strike plate.

As you can see, there are many home maintenance tasks you can do to ensure your home is well protected against the harshest of elements during the cold winter months and large temperature swings as the seasons change. By weatherproofing and performing preventative maintenance, you can largely ensure the cold weather and wet snow stays outside of your home.

Have any secret tips or tricks to help keep your home well maintained throughout the winter and springs months?

Share your home maintenance tips with us in the comments below!