Winter Maintenance: Should You DIY or Call a Pro?

Nov 20, 2020

There is a lot to do to prep your home for winter weather.

Between dropping temperatures and dropping leaves, fall gives homeowners a long to-do list to get ready for winter. Last month we shared our holiday prep checklist to keep you organized leading up to a festive holiday season. This month, here are 9 tasks you shouldn’t forget to prep your home before winter sets in. Some are easy to do on your own, while others may call for the help of a pro.  

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Call a Pro

Tune Up Your Heating System 

As the mercury drops, make time to have your heating system checked by a professional. Repairing leaks and damage, replacing filters, and flushing lines could all be necessary steps depending on the type of heating system you have. The better condition your system is in, the more efficiently and reliably it will operate for you until warm weather returns.

DIY or Call a Pro

Clean the Gutters & Avoid Ice Dams

Raking and mulching leaves in the lawn is one thing, but don’t forget to clear debris from your gutters too. Keeping these channels clear will help prevent ice from building up in the gutters, which can damage siding and roof edges. Clear gutters will also give melting snow and ice a clear path to prevent ice dams on roof edges. If you’ve noticed snow or icicles building up on your roof edges in previous winters, consider inspecting your roof, attic, and eaves for moisture damage and insufficient insulation. 

DIY or Call a Pro

Seal Leaky Doors & Windows

Air infiltration around doors and windows is one of the biggest causes of heat loss in a home, and therefore, high energy bills. Are your windows costing you money? To check, first make sure each unit is closed and locked. Some drafts can easily be felt with your hand, while some DIYers might want to try an infrared thermometer. If you find a draft, add peel-and-stick weather-stripping inside door jambs and window sashes, and caulk around window frames and exterior gaps. This may help drafty windows get through another cold winter, but remember this: A gap as narrow as 1/16-inch around a window is the equivalent of a hole the size of a brick in the side of your home!

The longer you live with drafty windows during the winter, the more money you’ll lose to high heating bills. Contact Improveit for a free window consultation and energy evaluation. You can also take our easy 
one-question quiz to see how soon you might need to replace your windows!

Do It Yourself

Check Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

This easy task usually comes up when we change the clocks for Daylight Savings Time. During cold weather, be extra vigilant about ensuring that smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are in proper working order. Increased use of fireplaces, cozy candles, furnaces, and space heaters creates more risk of a fire at home. Follow our tips to make sure your windows can be safely operated in case you need to use them to escape a house fire. Read more here.

Call a Pro

Prune Tree Limbs

Clearing out deadwood and excess branches helps sustain and promote healthy tree growth, while also preventing tree-related winter weather hazards. Heavy snow and ice accumulating on tree branches can cause limbs to bend or break, threatening the tree’s health and potentially damaging your home or property. Kent, Ohio-based Davey Tree says trees are dormant between late fall and early spring, making winter an ideal time for pruning. An arborist can safely and effectively prune your trees, sparing you the cost of repairing tree and property damage down the road. Come spring, the trees will be able to focus all their energy on beautiful new leaves and blooms.

Call a Pro

Fireplace Cleaning

This task is another one best left to the pros. Chimneys for both wood-burning and gas fireplaces should be swept annually, according to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA). Chimney professionals will clear soot, creosote, and even birds’ nests from chimneys so they can operate properly. They’re also trained to identify corrosion that can be caused by natural gas and propane, as well as masonry damage that can inhibit proper chimney operation or pose a hazard. The CSIA has homeowner resources to find a trained chimney sweep in your area. 

Do It Yourself

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

Over the summer, we talked about the smart use of ceiling fans as a way to lower your air conditioning bills. Don’t forget to flip the switch this winter! Ceiling fans should run clockwise in the winter. When run on a low setting, this movement creates an updraft that circulates warm air around the room. This, combined with the right windows, helps improve your home’s overall energy efficiency. Improveit windows feature Thermostat glass with specialized coatings that allow radiant heat to pass through the glass in the winter. Natural heating plus circulated warm air will finally give your furnace the break it deserves this winter.

Do It Yourself

Disconnect Hoses & Insulate Exterior Pipes

A flood of ice-cold water is the last thing you need this winter. Be sure to disconnect garden hoses from outdoor spigots before freezing temperatures set in, and consider covering exposed exterior pipes with foam pipe sleeves. These easy measures will help prevent water in the pipes from freezing, expanding, and bursting. While you’re at it, check your sump pump’s operation and consider adding a water leak sensor near your sump pump and/or water meter. Convenient digital models can be monitored via an app on your phone so you get instant alerts in case of a flood. 

DIY or Call a Pro

Check Window Wells

While you’re outside protecting your pipes, take a quick look at the windows wells around the base of your home. These spaces are designed to provide egress in case occupants need to get out through the basement window. Window wells should be clear of debris, and should be repaired or replaced if the surrounding soil is encroaching or causing the window well to buckle. While you’re at it, take a minute to check your basement hopper windows as well to ensure they’re operating properly and aren’t leaking. Improveit can help if these windows need to be replaced. 

My install happened in November and I was concerned about them coming out in the cold. The install team worked swiftly, professionally, and at no time was my home left drafty or chilled. They left my property better than when they arrive I am delighted. – Patricia N.

With your winter maintenance to-do list all checked off, you can feel confident that your home is in tip-top shape to make it through a cold winter. If you suspect your windows are the cause of high heating bills, don’t wait until the spring to have them replaced.

Improveit‘s top-notch installers work year-round, and can have new windows in place quickly so you don’t have to worry about shivering through your installation day. Call us today at 855-291-2999 for your free window consultation and energy evaluation! 

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