It’s hard to believe that 2023 is already here. While you may still be taking down your holiday decorations and trying to figure out what to do with all those baked goods and leftovers, now is the time to think about preparing your home for the year ahead.
It may not seem like a high priority item when you have kids home on winter break, and you may also be trying to juggle transitioning back to your work routine after some much-needed time off. However, you’ll be glad that you got your home ready NOW before time slips away from you.
We’ve put together some helpful tips to get your home in the state it needs to be for the year ahead.
Tip #1: Keep up with maintenance for your heating and cooling units.
Unfortunately, many people have an “if it’s not broken, don’t fix it” mentality when it comes to their home’s appliances. However, even if your furnace seems to be working fine, and your air conditioner didn’t have any problems last summer, you shouldn’t just ignore them until there’s an issue.
Experts recommend having your heating and cooling units maintained annually by a professional. During a tune-up appointment for these systems, a trained expert will take a look at all working components inside the units to be sure things are clean, safe, and working as they should. If a potential problem is detected, it can be taken care of before resulting in a total breakdown of the system.
A clean, efficiently operating furnace and AC will keep your family comfortable regardless of the season and may also help to lower some of those high energy costs you’ve likely been dealing with lately.
Tip #2: Check on your home’s exterior.
Often, winter can bring significant damage to the outside of a home. Cold temperatures, snow, and ice can all have an effect on your home’s siding, roof, gutters, and even your concrete surfaces. So bundle up and head outside to do a visual check of your home’s exterior and look for any damage.
Take a look at your roof and make note of any missing/damaged shingles or potential problem areas that you may see. If left neglected for too long, moisture from melting snow and ice, as well as precipitation from spring and summer storms, could seep into these damaged areas and trigger mold growth, as well as damage to your attic space and anything stored there.
While examining your roofline, also note any damage to your gutters or downspouts. These fixtures are responsible for transporting moisture away from the top of your home. If they’re not able to perform their duty as expected, you could have pools of water spilling down the sides of your home. This could lead to siding issues, or even damage to your foundation.
Your home’s siding acts as its protective shield to keep out the brutal winter winds and harsh summer heat. If you notice missing siding panels, mold or mildew growth, or detect areas of weakness, these need to be addressed before moisture intrusion leads to structural problems for your family’s home.
Odds are likely that if you live in an area that sees winter weather, you’ve probably had to shovel snow and ice from the sidewalk, driveway, and other concrete surfaces around your home. Shoveling, as well as snow/ice melting products, can all do damage to concrete over time. They also have the potential to make an already cracked or damaged concrete issue even worse.
Note any cracks or unlevel surfaces around your home that will need to be repaired. Failure to do so in a timely manner could make the problem worse and could pose a tripping hazard to your family or guests.
Contact a pro
After determining what problem areas outside your home need to be addressed, contact the proper professionals in your area to see what work will need to be done. Often, these pros have schedules that fill up fast once nice weather hits, so it’s best to knock these issues out now while there still may be ample appointment availability.
Tip #3: Seal your window and door frames.
Have you noticed your home feeling drafty this winter? It could be the result of openings or gaps in the frames around your windows and doors. As time passes, the sealant used in these frames weakens. When it does, gaps can form and outdoor air can get inside, and conditioned air inside your home can get out. When this happens, you may notice a drafty home in the winter months, and a humid home during the summer.
To determine if this is a problem in your home, you can perform your own test. Run your hand along the perimeter of your window and door frames. Make note of areas where you can feel air passing through. These are the spots where you’ll need to add extra weatherstripping or sealant. Not only will this make your home more comfortable, but it will also help your HVAC systems operate more efficiently.
Tip #4: Have your chimney cleaned.
Many homeowners often overlook the fact that they need to get their chimney cleaned by a professional on a regular basis — this is especially important if you frequently use your fireplace during colder months of the year.
As time passes, soot can build-up inside of the chimney and make it difficult for air to pass through. This doesn’t just create a potential fire hazard, but it could also trap deadly carbon monoxide (CO) gas inside your home.
Contact a chimney sweeping company in your area to schedule a cleaning.
Tip #5: Schedule an air duct cleaning.
Another often overlooked area of any home is the ductwork. Your ducts are the pathway for conditioned air from your furnace or air conditioner to reach the vents in your home. If you haven’t had your ducts cleaned in a while, then they’re likely sheltering dirt, dust, pet hair, and other pollutants.
These materials in the air you breathe could potentially make allergies worse and cause a number of other health-related issues. Not just that, but dirty air ducts make it more difficult for air to pass through. That could lead to your heating and cooling systems working overtime to keep your home at the temperature set on your thermostat.
Hire a professional duct cleaner to make sure that this area of your home is free of dirt or dust build-up!
Want more helpful homeowner tips?
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