In the midwinter, you might feel like most of your home maintenance and improvement tasks are on hold. But now, since your home has survived the first half of the winter season, there’s plenty of maintenance you can do to keep it in tip-top shape. What’s more, staying ahead of home maintenance in the winter will also keep you from having to do extra work in the spring!
Benefits of Home Maintenance
The benefits of home maintenance are too good to pass up. Regular maintenance and cleaning not only helps to increase your home’s value, but can also save you money in the long run. According to Houselogic, a site for homeowners created by the National Association of Realtors, you can lose 10 percent of your home’s total value if you let it fall into a state of disrepair. A 10 percent loss in value due to poor home maintenance can translate to 15,000 to 20,000 dollars.
Winterizing your home is simple preventative maintenance that can keep your home from losing value and protect you and your family for years to come. Quick tasks like replacing batteries on smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and making sure the air filters on your HVAC equipment are clean can reduce energy consumption and keep you and your family safe.
Electrical Equipment and Home Heating Safety
The U.S. Fire Administration reports that home heating fires caused an annual average of approximately 205 deaths, 725 injuries and $506 million in property loss. It’s for all these reasons that maintaining your home heating and electrical equipment should be done before the winter, but if you missed it, you should do it Midwinter. Doing a simple mid-winter check-up, not only helps to catch troublesome issues, but it also offers you peace of mind by ensuring all of your electrical appliances and home heating equipment are working properly.
Half of home heating fires are reported during the months of December, January and February. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) advises that home owners have their heating equipment and chimneys cleaned and inspected every year by qualified professionals, and to remember to shut off portable heaters when leaving a room or going to bed. If you use a fuel burning space heater, make sure you’re using the right kind of fuel specified by the manufacturer, and it’s also smart to establish a kid-free zone around space heaters and fire places so children don’t hurt themselves or inadvertently start a fire.
Another way to stay safe and keep your home in working order is by double checking the electrical appliances in your house to make sure the outlets they’re using aren’t overloaded. Research about electrical fires published in a 2017 report by the NFPA, found that electrical failures from appliances caused fires that resulted in 420 deaths and 1,370 injuries. To help minimize the chances of a fire, the NFPA suggests only using one-heat producing appliance (such as a coffee maker, toaster, or space heater) plugged into one outlet at a time. They also advise that you make sure electrical cords are not running across doorways and that hot light bulbs are away from things that burn such as cloth or paper.
Again, you don’t need flames to start a fire. Fires can start when heat builds up near things that burn. This not only includes lamps, but also unattended ovens and dryers with unclean lint traps and vents as well as kitchen cooking appliances. In fact, unattended cooking is a contributing factor in 33 percent of home fires related to cooking equipment, 49 percent of the associated deaths and 46 percent of the associated injuries, according to a NFPA infographic. This is where Guardian’s light control modules, Z-Wave Smart Control thermostats and heat sensors can come in handy to add another layer of security to help prevent fires.
Home Maintenance Checklist
Here are some more things that you can do now, even if the weather isn’t great yet, all compiled in a handy set of checklists with information provided by Guardian facilities experts Emil C Parent, Justin Bowden and Jim Green.
Inside the home:
- Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Perform monthly testing on your Security System to ensure communications to monitoring center are working properly.
- Change your air filter in your HVAC.
- Clean tile grout.
- Check pipes and plumbing for leaks.
- Due to the low humidity, it’s a good time for drywall/plaster repairs and painting.
- Regularly check or set automations on smart thermostats to maximize efficiency.
- Check electrical outlets to make sure they’re not overloaded.
- Clean dryer filters to help prevent fires.
- Clean the inside of the stove.
- Check dryer vent and lint traps.
- Check electrical appliances, outlets and fuses.
- Test holiday lights and other electric decorations.
- Clean chimneys and fireplaces.
- Create or update a home inventory.
- Organize storage areas.
- Donate any clothes, coats and shoes that are in good shape that you don’t use.
Outside the home
- Keep snow shoveled away from your foundation, garage, parking spots and driveways.
- Check for and remove ice-dams on your roof, gutters and take down low hanging icicles.
- Make sure downspouts and gutters have not been affected by snow and ice.
- Clean up your yard and remove any branches/debris.
- Wrap/insulate all exterior hose bibs.
- Check caulking around doors/windows for deterioration.
- Put up plastic sheets or weather screens on windows to help keep in heat.
- Winterize outdoor pool.
Look Ahead to Spring
- Start planning/budgeting for the year’s upcoming projects.
- Pay attention to upcoming sales to buy supplies for the spring/summer.
- Create spring and summer project lists
- Plan ahead for spring and summer activities and vacations
Save or Print the List for your Midwinter Maintenance
Learn more about how Guardian can help protect your home and family all year round or call 1-800-PROTECT (1-800-776-8328)