Your Winter Home Maintenance & Safety Checklist | Safety.com

Your Winter Home Maintenance & Safety Checklist

Winter’s here, and while you may want to stay snug and warm, it’s also important to keep an eye on areas within and around your home to make sure things are in top shape (and to help you avoid costly repairs).

There’s Snow Place Like Home: Keeping Up With Home Maintenance During the Winter

Your home is a major investment, and although the winter weather tends to make us want to stay indoors, there are still bits and pieces we need to check over every now and again. Even periodic checks of equipment and areas of your home could potentially help you save on expensive repairs. We want to help you keep your home in tip top shape this winter, so we’ve put together this handy home maintenance and safety checklist.

As a bonus, it rhymes, making it easier for you to remember some of the top things to check for.

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7 Home Maintenance Reminders for the Winter

7 Home Maintenance Reminders for the Winter

  1. 1

    Is the wind coming in? Check for door and window drafts

    Do you feel any cold air seeping in from doors and windows? This could indicate poor sealing. One way you can check is to use an incense stick. Take one, light it, and hold it up to the suspected door or window. If the smoke whirls around instead of rising as it normally would, then this indicates a crack. You can fill those cracks with caulk or even add weatherstripping. Sealing those cracks could help you save on your winter energy bills.

  2. 2

    Ice is not nice. Check for roof ice dams

    If you live in areas where snow and ice are more common during the winter months, you may end up having ice dams on the overhang of your roof. An ice dam is an area, usually on the edge of your roof, where snow and running water accumulate. Typically, water runs down and collects at the overhang where there’s less heating, leading the water to freeze. Ice dams can lead to water seeping into your attic and damaging your roof and ceiling. For maintenance, use a rake to clear away ice or install heated cables along your roof to prevent freezing encourage water run-off through your gutters.

  3. 3

    Eeek! Look for leaks

    As an indoor maintenance tip, check under your kitchen sink, near your dishwasher, in your laundry room, bathrooms, and any other areas where water leaks could occur. Unfortunately, when a leak is discovered, it’s often too late and the damage is done. One way to prevent this from happening is by installing water leak detectors in strategic locations of your home. These devices alert you whenever a leak is detected – before it turns into a big, wet mess. If you have a home security provider, you may want to look into their equipment offerings and see if you can purchase a water leak sensor through them.

  4. 4

    Believe the hype – Check for frozen pipes

    Whether your home has metal and or plastic pipes, whenever water freezes, it expands, which can cause pipes to crack and burst – leading to repairs. Pipes that are more susceptible to freezing are those exposed to the outdoor winter weather like your outdoor water valves and any water valves that are in cooler areas of your home. One way to prevent your pipes from freezing is to add insulation. You can add pipe sleeves, heat tape, or even allow your water to run a little to help keep your pipes from freezing.

  5. 5

    Any outdoor clutter? Time to check the gutters

    Although it’s winter, you can still have leaves and other clutter around your gutters. Clogged gutters prevent water from continuing its flow away from your home. It’s as simple as dedicating a little extra time on the weekends or weekday afternoons to clear out your gutters and make sure there’s nothing blocking water flow from your home. Left unchecked, you run the risk of damaging your foundation, ceilings, walls and possibly basement flooding.

  6. 6

    Don’t let things get off kilter – Check your air filters

    Don’t make your HVAC system work harder than it needs to this winter. Check your air filters for collected dirt and dust. By keeping your filters clean, you’ll not only have cleaner air, but you could also save on your energy bill. Another plus is that your rooms can be more properly warmed. Make sure to find the appropriate sizes and replace your air filters this winter.

  7. 7

    Keep in step with winter storm prep

    Are you stocked up on food supplies and household necessities in the event of a winter storm? If possible, try to avoid the rush before the storm by stocking up on supplies like flashlights, batteries, canned goods, water, medications, blankets, and any other necessary items. Having these items on hand can make a huge difference in the event you’re snowed in, the roads are too bad to travel, or worse – there’s no power.

  8. 8

    Don’t wait until later – Do you have a generator?

    It’s better to be over-prepared than under-prepared in the event of an emergency. If you don’t have a home generator, we’d recommend investing in one just in case you lose power – especially if you live a good distance from city services or neighbors. Look for generators that have cold start technology, a portable design, and a fuel gauge. With a generator, you can also prevent perishables from going to the bad (and having to replace them later).


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Safety and Security Reporter

Jalesa Campbell

Jalesa is one of Safety.com's staff experts on home security, natural disasters, public safety, and family safety. She's been featured on Today.com and elsewhere.