Best Practices for Caring for Your Home
Protecting the investment you have in your home and family is best done by following a routine of care and much of the recommended care follows a seasonal or monthly schedule.
For the end of Winter, the list of exterior needs dwindles as inclement weather pushes us inside, but the needs for the interior of your home can now be addressed.
This is a good time to organize your home improvement files and to begin planning any improvements, updates or general maintenance jobs you would like to tackle in the Spring.
If you are a gardener, this is also a great time to consider any work you would like to do on the landscape beds around your home or to plan your vegetable garden, whether it be a large spread in your backyard or an herb garden near your home or patio gardens in a variety of containers. Seed and plant catalogs are often available this time of year and will guide you on planning the right time for planting in your area of the United States.
Furnace maintenance becomes perhaps more noticeable in the winter as keeping everyone’s feet warm becomes a big priority. The routine changing of your furnace filters and vacuuming out your HVAC registers go a long, long way toward furnace longevity and efficiency.
Ice and Snow Considerations for Cold Climates-
For those who do live in areas where ice and snow are common, keep an eye on heavy snow or ice collecting on and weighing down tree limbs and feel free to knock excess snow or ice weight off of the branches of your trees and large bushes to keep limbs from breaking. Any ice dams that form near your spouting can also be broken up with a few gentle knocks from a broom handle, too. But, be careful when doing these types of chores outside to prevent slipping and falling on ice.
Be aware that cold weather can wreak havoc on your pipes. To prevent them from freezing and breaking, be certain you turned the water off to your exterior faucets and detached and drained the hoses. Inside your home, do not close off HVAC registers in rooms that have plumbing in the walls (doing so could also make your furnace system not work as efficiently) and never close off registers ventilating crawl spaces for the same reason and also to control condensation beneath your home. In especially bitter cold, it can be a good idea to leave the cabinet door open under sinks located on exterior walls and to even leave a very small drip of water going in the faucet to prevent freezing.
If you’ve not done so in some time, this is a good time to take inventory of your belongings. Make a list, preferably with photos, to record your belongings and especially your valuables for insurance purposes. Often, your agent will store a copy of your list and photos in their files to assure coverage should a disaster strike. While you are at it, go over your coverage with your insurance agent to make sure your home and belongings are adequately covered.
Do a safety check of your home, checking for wobbly furniture, which may need to be repaired or pulls or hinges that may have come loose. If you did not check your smoke detector batteries when you changed your clocks or haven’t checked them in some time, please do so now and be certain to set a time when you will check again and put that date on your calendar.
Appliances, Equipment, Tools-
Check your other appliances, equipment and tools to make sure all have been maintained or schedule that maintenance now. Cleaning and maintaining your appliances, equipment and tools helps keep them in good condition so they last longer and serve you better. Nearly every appliance can be cleaned for better performance, from your dishwasher to your washing machine to your vacuum, there are easy instructions available online for keeping your hard working appliances in best condition. Consider having your lawn mower serviced at this time of year to assure it is ready for heavier use in warmer weather.
Be certain to use your home’s humidifier if you live in cold climates to assure enough moisture in your home to keep your home’s interior and belongings from getting too dry and also for your own health. Many humidifiers have filters in them which also need to be cleared or replaced routinely.
The Last of Winter Tasks-
If you have small jobs that have been waiting for you to have some time, encourage yourself to tackle those jobs now, so you will have time for tasks you enjoy more when the weather becomes warmer…like gardening or setting up a work bench in your garage or maybe a round of golf.
When you finish your winter home maintenance chores, be certain to check off your lists and take a moment for a pat on the back or a mug of hot chocolate as you enjoy a well-maintained home.