Home Maintenance Tips

Winter Checklist

  • Plumbing
  • Locate water shut off for emergencies
  • Disconnect hoses from hose bibs, drain hoses
  • Check hot water heater pilot, pop off drain line
  • Water heater should be drained and refilled once a year
  • Anode rod (in water heater) should be checked occasionally - this will prolong the tank life
  • Insulate exposed plumbing pipes
  • Check under sinks for leaks

HVAC

  • Change filters frequently in winter (these are located in ceiling vents or at furnace)
  • Ducts should be cleaned every 2 years and checked by a professional
  • Reprogram thermostats
  • Check condensate drains on high efficient furnaces (these can freeze up in cold weather and shut down furnace and cause leaks)
  • Check filters in cook top hoods
  • Remove all flammable materials from around furnace
  • Make sure all insulation is in place around ducting (while you are at in look at floors and stemwall insulation)
  • Cover AC units
  • Check vapor barrier under house

Electrical

  • Test all GFI plugs (kitchen & baths)
  • Check breakers in service panel for tripped breakers
  • Test smoke detectors and CO-2 detectors - replace batteries, if detectors are more than 10 years old they may need replacing
  • Buy a fire extinguisher

Fireplace / Woodstove (wood burning)

  • Check for debris in flue / creosote buildup
  • Make sure vent closes properly
  • Have flue professionally cleaned

Windows / Doors / Exterior

  • Check window operation
  • Make sure windows are sealed properly
  • Replace caulk as necessary
  • Check doors for air leaks, adjust weatherstrip of replace
  • Check siding or stucco for cracks - seal with appropriate filler
  • Check foundation for cracks
  • Close foundation vents

Roof / Gutters / Downspouts

  • Check roof thoroughly for broken or missing shingles or tile
  • Remove debris from gutters
  • Check downspout flow, make sure water flows away from house
  • Make sure there are no areas where water can puddle next to foundation

Landscape

  • Cut and prune trees and shrubs
  • Mulch sensitive plants and shrubs
  • Shut down irrigation, open drains, cover vacuum breaker
  • Seal concrete driveways and walkways
  • Move sensitive potted plants indoors

General

  • Drain gas from seasonal yard tools (I let them run till they are out of gas)
  • Stock up on ice melt
  • Spray WD 40 on shovels
  • Fire up snow blower and check
  • Prepare an emergency kit: lantern, flashlights, matches, phone #'s of utility companies, bottled water, freeze dried food, first aid kit, (etc)