Home Maintenance To Do in the Winter

Winter can feel like an unproductive time, with us all being cooped up inside and the darker days lending themselves more to sleep than getting work done. Still, there are some things you can do around the house to make good use of all that extra time at home.

This winter especially, with social distancing the continued norm, we’re all spending more time at home. Rather than spending that time bemoaning issues with your abode like George Bailey cursing at the broken newel, put your time to use on these projects that are easy enough for almost any homeowner to do:

  • Find and fix air leaks. Leaks that allow outside air in and inside air out can drive your utility bills up year-round. The good news on this job is those leaks are easier to find in winter, particularly on very cold days, because the temperature difference between inside and outside is more significant. While you can probably find larger issues with just an inspection using your eyes and feeling for cold air coming in, you may want to get an infrared thermometer to find them all. Here’s advice from the U.S. Department of Energy on finding and dealing with those leaks.
  • Inspect your insulation. If you notice your home isn’t as warm as you want it to be or your HVAC system seems to work non-stop to maintain the set temperature, this task may be necessary. Insulation issues are particularly a problem for older homes that may have been built without it or without enough of it. However, new homes aren’t immune to damage to insulation or other issues that can compromise the effectiveness of the protection. The folks at ENERGY STAR have tips for inspecting insulation.
  • Flush your water heater. The tank in this crucial but oft-overlooked piece of equipment can become clogged with sediment and deposits, particularly in areas with hard water supplies. Too much buildup can reduce the unit’s efficiency and even cause the elements inside electric water heaters to burn out. Fortunately, flushing your water heater is a fairly easy job. While you’re already spending time with your water heater, you may want to wrap it in a layer of insulation to help it operate more efficiently.
  • Bring in outside furnishings and décor. The winter weather can wreak havoc on items that are always outside, including grills, furniture and garden supplies. Flower pots may even be busted by freezing temperatures, so you’ll want to bring them and other items inside a shed or garage, if possible.

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