As December starts, home maintenance thoughts usually aren’t top of mind. From water issues to flashlight batteries, we hope this simple list will help you feel more prepared for the cold months ahead.
Reverse your Ceiling Fans
Most ceiling fans have a reverse switch and the majority of us have probably never used it. But switching the direction of the blades can produce an updraft and push down the heated air into the room from the ceiling. As we all know heat rises, so this tip will keep more of the warm air in the part of the room that we can feel it. While your flipping the switch, take a minute to wipe off any excess dust on the fan blades as well.
Clean the Chimney
As the colder weather sits in, it is a good idea to make sure your chimney is clean before you start to burn the Yule Log. This is important whether you have a wood-burning stove or fireplace or a gas fireplace. Dirty chimneys are a leading cause of house fires, and can often be overlooked as the dirt isn’t visible. You can consider cleaning the chimney yourself, but it can be a daunting task and the cost can add up as you purchase the needed tools. We recommend hiring a pro for this task. You can search for a chimney sweep that is certified by the Chimney Safety Institute of America. A chimney inspection will cost around $50-$90 and if it needs cleaning that can be an additional $100-$300.
Check your Flashlights and Battery Stash
Winter storms can lead to power outages, so now is a good time to check that your flashlights are in working condition. You will also want to make sure that you have plenty of batteries on hand in case you need to replace any during an outage.
Check your Gutters and Drainage
As you’re outside putting up Christmas lights and holiday decorations, take a few extra minutes to check your gutters. Good drainage is important as the cold weather hits to make sure that as snow and ice melt the water has a place to go. Poor drainage can lead to ice dams or broken gutters. This can allow for water to seep under your shingles or roof sheeting and cause additional damage.
Avoid Ice Dams
While checking your gutters for good drainage is the first step in preventing ice dams, let’s look at the next item that helps in preventing them as well. Ice dams can form when the temperature of your roof isn’t consistent. When heat collects in the attic and warms the roof, it can cause the eaves to be extra cold and cause freezing. As the snow melts in the warmer areas it freezes in the cold eaves which form the dam. This can cause water to flow under the shingles and potentially cause damage to ceilings, insulation, and walls. Make sure you have adequate and consistent insulation along your roof. Also, make sure that you have proper ventilation in the attic and that air leaks are sealed. Here is some more in-depth information on how to take care of or prevent ice dams.
Clean your Dryer Vents
With the colder months upon us, your dryer is likely to get more use. You want to make sure that your dryer vent is clear of built-up lint to reduce the risk of fire and also improve household energy efficiency. Fires from built-up dryer vents cause over 15,000 fires each year, so it is important to reduce this risk.
Turn off Exterior Faucets
Undrained water in pipes can freeze and cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Make sure to disconnect all exterior garden hoses and drain any remaining water in the faucet. Homes that were built around 2010 or newer will probably have frost-proof faucets which help in preventing burst pipes. If your home is older than 10 years you will want to check for frost-proof faucets or turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.
Have more questions about any of these December Home Maintenance tips or how they affect the value of your home? Give The Emmily Longenecker Team a call at 717-450-7090, we are always available to answer your questions.