Oh, the joy of being a homeowner... I could hear your scoff through the computer.
Being a home owner has it's ups and downs, but just like a car, if you don't regularly maintain your home, it will fall apart and cost you even more money down the road.
Here's some easy DIY maintenance tips & tricks to make sure you don't have a living nightmare in the middle of a snowstorm this year.
6. Check for Ice Dams
An ice dam is just like it sounds, when ice freezes at the foot of the roof and slowly builds up.
This can be a result of poor insulation and ventilation in the attic. So before the snow and ice gets too bad, check to make sure your attic is properly ventilated near the foot of the roof. There should be a 3-4" gap between the plywood sheathing of the roof and the insulation.
If you have a soffit and don't have soffit vents, call a professional contractor to install them ASAP. Trust me, you don't want to do it yourself, but you do want soffit ventilation.
5. Check & Regularly Change the Furnace Filter
At minimum, it is recommended to change your furnace filter at least once a month.
This is important for the maintenance and health of your furnace, but also for the quality of air you're breathing in.
We inhale poor, stale air inside all winter seeing as a lot of people don't go outside, so it's very important to make sure you are getting good ventilation in your home.
Consistently changing the filter also helps keep energy costs down.
4. Clean Your Gutters
This is a big one, and it wraps back around to ice dams.
Clogged gutters prevent melted water from flowing off of your roof properly, therefore exacerbating ice dams. If the water has nowhere to go and the temperature drops, you're going to have huge ice dams over time.
Water & ice can also back up under the bottom rows of shingles, rotting out the plywood sheathing. Tearing off and replacing even parts of a roof is absurdly expensive, so be sure to take the hour and half once every few months to pull the leaves and pine cones out of your gutter.
3. Regularly Remove Ice & Snow from Vents
Make it a habit to regularly check your outdoor vents. Write it down for every few week on the kitchen calendar or something, because this is important.
When I say outdoor vents, I'm talking about your furnace vents, dryer vents, that sort of thing.
Vents that are frozen shut can potentially lead to carbon monoxide building up inside of your home, which is very, very bad.
2. Check Your Windows and Doors for Air Leaks - and Plug 'Em Up
If you have a 'leaky' door or window, you are quite literally throwing money out of said window in heating costs.
On a cold & windy day, run the back of your hand across all of the windows and doors in your home. As you come across a leaky one, you can most likely see where the white caulking is cracked or missing and easily plug it up yourself with a caulking gun.
If a window or door is very old and is visibly letting a lot of cold air in / warm air out, invest in a contractor to come out and replace it. It can be expensive, but the money you will save on heating will pay for the door before the end of the year.
1. Trim Branches Near Your Home, Garage, and Cars
I live in Connecticut at the moment, and just this past weekend we had a pretty serious ice storm. New England being New England, it was 54* 2 days later, so now it's naturally all gone.
But when the entire state was frozen over, it was dangerous. You would hear *crack*, *crash*, *bang*, *boom* all day and night. This was because the trees couldn't handle the weight of all of the ice on their branches.
So before it gets too cold again, take a Saturday or Sunday to cut down any long or old branches dangling over or near your home or car.
Imagine a giant tree branch crashing through your roof during the next blizzard - no contractor is going to be able to help you for days, sometimes weeks depending on the severity.
Taking care of your home is a pain sometimes, but if you create a regular system for home maintenance, it really isn't that bad.
Sit down with the family and delegate chores to be done bi-weekly, monthly, so on so forth.
This will also teach your children (if you have any) to appreciate and respect the home they live in.
Have a warm and safe weekend, thanks for reading!
Author / Ice Man / Plant-Based Wildman