As we’re all gearing up for the holidays, it’s important to make sure your home is prepared for winter and the holiday season. Here is our winter home maintenance checklist to help keep your home and family safe and warm this holiday season.

1. Perform an annual maintenance checkup on your HVAC system

Before the worst of the cold hits your area, it’s a good idea to have your HVAC system checked by a professional. If you live in an area of the country that has snow and freezing temperatures, this is even more important. The last thing you want is your family being stranded without heat during the holidays because you failed to maintain your HVAC system properly.

2. Make sure your home is properly insulated for winter

This seems like a simple one at first. You’re probably thinking; “Well of course my house is insulated!” However, there are a few key areas of the home that many homeowners forget to insulate. Attics are often left uninsulated. If you don’t wish to insulate your attic, you need to at least ensure that there is proper insulation between the attic and the living areas of your home. All the insulation in the rest of your home won’t do much good if all that expensive heat you’re pumping into your home is leaking out through your uninsulated attic. The other key area many homeowners forget to insulate is the garage. For similar reasonings to the attic, the walls separating the garage from the main house must be properly insulated even if the garage itself is not. Having all that heat leak out through either the attic, garage, crawl space, or other storage space also puts extra strain on your HVAC system, causing unnecessary wear and tear that gets expensive even with proper maintenance.

3. Ensure your home has proper ventilation

In addition to proper insulation, your home also requires proper ventilation. This is for a variety of purposes. Firstly, during warmer weather, it prevents heat buildup in attics, garages, and crawls spaces. Secondly, in colder weather, proper air circulation through the attic actually prevents ice dams from forming on your roof. If you’ve ever had to deal with ice dams while performing winter home maintenance, then you probably agree that they are something you want to avoid if at all possible. Then there is the problem of moisture. Poor ventilation and the difference between warm temperatures inside and cold temperatures outside also contributes to a buildup of moisture in these spaces, which leads to mold and mildew. Mold and mildew damage the structural integrity of your home. Using active ventilation like a solar attic fan equalizes the temperatures inside and outside. Ventilation in garages also prevents the buildup of fumes from cars and chemicals stored there.

4. Double check all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors

This is important for every household. However, it is doubly important if you have a fireplace and plan on using it this holiday season. While fireplaces can be used safely, but there is still a danger that must be acknowledged. Even the most careful homeowner can still make a mistake that could have catastrophic consequences.  Smoke and carbon monoxide are deadly threats that should be taken seriously. Fireplaces aren’t the only potential fire hazard throughout the holiday season. Candles are a common holiday decoration that can pose a fire hazard if not handled properly. Ensuring that there are smoke and carbon monoxide detectors throughout your home is an easy way to protect your family from these threats.

Proper winter home maintenance is vital to having a healthy, safe holiday season. Be proactive and give your family a happy holiday season free from home maintenance worries.

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