Winter Home-Maintenance Tips
While the calendar might say that winter is a few weeks away, we’ve already felt the temperature dip into those rare, unusual and brief Florida cold snaps.
And we all know we will experience more of it in the coming months.
So, while we don’t experience winter in the same way as our friends up north, it’s still a good idea to make sure your home is ready for the change in temperature.
The first and most important thing to do is check your HVAC system. While it may be more important to make sure your air conditioner is working during the summer, the last thing you want to have happen is discover you have no heat on those nights it drops into the 30s. So, if you don’t already do this, get your HVAC system checked by a professional twice a year.
It’s also worthwhile to have a licensed electrician do a maintenance tune-up on your electrical system. This will include them checking for sparking in the main service panel and an inspection of the breaker wires for bad insulation or discoloration.
Many people resort to portable heaters for those cold nights. If you’re pulling an old heater out of the closet, you need to make sure the wiring is not frayed, and the unit is free of dust. Additionally, portable electric units can stress wiring and can cause fires if placed in the wrong locations. And there’s an additional danger if the portable heater is powered by propane or gas. Not only is there the issue of fire but also carbon monoxide poisoning.
While it’s not likely we will get a hard freeze, it’s a good idea to cover exposed pipes. Often, that means pipes associated with a sprinkler system. Rather than wait for a freeze, just keep them covered. Even a mild freeze can cause cracks in the pipes, resulting in the release of hundreds of gallons of water a day. Depending on where that water is going, it could cause structural damage to your home.
Winter holidays often means decorations and a tree. Just like the wiring with a portable heater, you need to make sure the wiring on your holiday lights is not frayed. If you bring a live tree into your home, there are two things to remember. Water it daily and keep the tree decorations unplugged when you’re not home.
Finally, the colder weather means this is a great time to look for cold spots. Gaps around windows or doors may be letting cold air into your home. Weather stripping or insulating these spots will keep your home warmer and reduce your energy bills.