For many, winter is the time to cozy up by a fireplace and relax, but that doesn’t mean regular home maintenance should be put on the back burner. If you take good care of your home and perform your necessary preventive maintenance now, you can avoid taking on unneeded costly repairs in the future. Here are ten winter home maintenance checklist to-dos for a safe, comfortable home all season long.
1. Reverse ceiling fans.
Reversing the direction of any ceiling fans in the winter isn't just good maintenance; it also makes an impact. Switching fans from counterclockwise to clockwise will push warm air from the ceiling down into the room.
2. Clean out dryer lint.
This is an especially important winter maintenance item because the heavier fabrics we use to stay warm naturally produce more lint, increasing the risk of dryer fires. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, 2,900 home clothes dryer fires are reported each year, and these kinds of flames peak in January and are entirely preventable. Frequently empty the lint screen and keep your dryer vent opening free from snow and other debris to minimize risk.
Taking care of your dryer is usually something you can do on your own. To learn how, check out these 12 DIY washer and dryer maintenance tips.
3. Create a winter weather emergency kit.
Ice and snow can not only create dangerous driving conditions but, in some cases, also trap residents inside their homes. If you live in a region where this is a possibility, it’s best to be prepared with proactive winter maintenance. Create a winter weather emergency kit that includes the following:
- Three-day supply of water and nonperishable food
- Two-way radio
- Personal hygiene items
- Basic medications such as aspirin
- First-aid materials
- Cellphone and chargers
- Manual can opener
- Sanitizing wipes
4. Get a backup generator.
While it isn't a permanent or long-term solution, a generator can keep the power going in case of extended outages. A standby or portable generator will automatically power the essentials or your entire home and keep things as "normal" as possible. Use generators in an emergency, but remember, do not bring a generator indoors.
Portable generators are a must-have, but improper use can do more harm than good. Protect your family with these portable generator safety tips.
5. Stock the medicine cabinet.
Because cold and flu can run rampant in the chillier months, your winter maintenance should involve stocking up the medicine cabinet with basic, over-the-counter medications, hand sanitizer, and disinfecting wipes. Head to the pharmacy and stock up now before supplies are limited during the winter months.
6. Keep walkways clear.
When it snows, seasonal maintenance should get paths and driveways cleared quickly, with a de-icing agent applied to prevent slips and falls. In case of a sudden major snowfall, place markers around walkways to help guide your steps.
7. Wait until it’s safe to remove holiday decorations.
With wind, rain, snow, and ice in the forecast, winter weather can make it hazardous to take down and hang up holiday lights and decorations. Before removing outdoor lights, inflatables, and other heavy decorations, keep an eye on the weather conditions, and make sure to plan the task for a nice day. Remember to place your ladder on a dry, even surface, or consider using a utility pole with a hook extension to reach high-hanging lights and decorations.
8. Clean and replace filters in your heating system.
Make sure your filters are in good shape. During months when your system is in overdrive (like the winter), your home maintenance should include checking and replacing filters monthly. This will keep your system running well and ensure optimal air quality in your home.
Want to keep energy costs low? Here are six winter energy-saving tips to keep you warm and your wallet full!
9. Check the heater and carbon monoxide detector.
If you have a gas heater, inspect the pilot light to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. You can contact your local gas and electric providers to schedule an inspection. Also, confirm your carbon monoxide detector is working properly.
10. Get weather-resistant doormats and floor mats.
Have an item on your winter home maintenance checklist for avoiding tracking water and snow indoors after you come in from the cold weather. This can be as simple as buying mats made of olefin fiber, which absorb moisture from shoes and boots, dry quickly, and are resistant to mildew and rot. If you leave wet boots at the door, use boot trays with rimmed edges to contain water.
The Takeaway: This Winter Home Maintenance Checklist is Key
From getting a backup generator to reversing your ceiling fans, completing these winter home maintenance tasks will keep your home cozy and safe this season. If you're heading outside to brave the cold, it's important to bundle up correctly. Check out our best winter coat guide to find the coats that are perfect for your winter outdoor to-dos.