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4 Home Maintenance Tasks to Tackle Before Winter Starts

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Buying a house is a monumental achievement. But once you accomplish that milestone, there’s a lot of upkeep required to keep things running smoothly.

“Routine home maintenance is very important — not only because it’ll help your house keep its value, but also because it’ll help keep you safe and comfortable as the weather cools,” says Jacob Channel, LendingTree senior economist. “By performing regular maintenance and keeping your home in decent shape, you can potentially save money and avoid needing to make major repairs for damages caused by neglect.”

The importance of keeping up with home maintenance becomes even more important as the weather shifts and the allure of a bulky cable-knit sweater becomes more present.

If you own a home, here’s what you should do before the temperatures take a steeper dive.

4 home maintenance tasks to tackle before winter

No. 1: Assess where you’re at

First, you should do a quick check of your home’s systems and features, focusing on those that can be impacted by winter weather. These include (but are not limited to) your:

  • Furnace
  • Boiler
  • Roof
  • Windows
  • Gutters
  • Chimney
  • Fireplace
  • Sump pump
  • Water heater

Don’t forget external features either, like the trees on your property.

Look for potential issues, like cracks and built-up gunk, that may become an issue as the weather cools. This will give you an idea of the kinds of tasks you’ll need to accomplish to keep your home safe and warm.

No. 2: Address your weatherproofing

“As winter approaches, it’s very important for homeowners to be sure that their homes are properly weatherproofed,” Channel says. “Even if you don’t live in an area with particularly cold winters, you still want to be sure your home is properly heated in case the weather turns colder than usual.”

Some weatherproofing tasks to consider include:

  • Caulking around window seams
  • Applying window film to help insulate the glass
  • Adding weather stripping around doors and windows
  • Removing window air conditioner units
  • Putting an insulating blanket around your water heater
  • Changing the direction of ceiling fans

“Though it’s unpleasant to think about, going through a bad winter in a home that isn’t properly weatherproofed and insulated can be fatal,” Channel says. “You shouldn’t skimp out on necessary repairs, even if you’d rather be spending your time and money elsewhere.”

No. 3: Fix the smaller maintenance issues yourself

Remember that task list you created based on the first tip? Now’s the time to start checking things off the list. The key is to look for home improvement projects you can safely tackle.

For example, clearing out your gutters can keep them functioning as the weather turns rainy or snowy. That, in turn, can help keep your roof in optimal condition and prevent water damage. Meanwhile, replacing the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms can help ensure that you stay safe as you crank up the heat. Trimming overgrown tree branches can help you avoid issues like losing power during a storm.

Ultimately, these little fixes can help prolong your home’s systems, saving you money in the long run — especially if you can cut labor costs.

No. 4: Hire a professional to address larger tasks

“While many winter-related home maintenance tasks are pretty straightforward and easy to do, you shouldn’t be afraid to hire a professional if you think you’ll need extra help,” Channel says.

This can be helpful with tasks you may not have the expertise to assess or address, like those related to plumbing, roofing or electricity.

“Making a mistake while messing around with those aspects of your home can cost you a significant amount of money, or even seriously injure you,” Channel says. “Trying to save a buck by trying to be your own electrician instead of hiring a professional is going to seem like a really bad idea if you accidentally electrocute yourself or start a fire.”

 

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