With roughly two more months of winter still to go in Minnesota and Western Wisconsin, the team at Inspecta-Homes wants to be sure that our customers stay safe and keep up with winter home maintenance in St. Paul, Minneapolis, and the surrounding area. Here are some of our top tips for homeowners:
Check Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
As a leading home inspection company in Minnesota, we know how popular fireplaces and wood-burning stoves are in wintertime. But given that the windows are closed during the cold months, it’s critical to ensure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries. That’s why we recommend regularly checking your detectors. Also, if you don’t already have these detectors on each floor of your house, it’s a good idea to install them.
Watch Your Trees
Snow-covered trees make for a pretty sight – but when the tree limbs become overburdened with snow, they can break. This is bad news for any homeowner with trees growing close to their house, as falling limbs can cause serious damage. Stay one step ahead by clearing nearby limbs of snow, and if a limb does fall, have it removed immediately. Make sure you use a broom to brush the snow from the limb, as opposed to shaking the limb, since the latter can cause frozen limbs to break.
Keep Cold Air Out
You may have taken every precaution in insulating your home for winter, yet somewhere along the line you detect cold breeze coursing through your home. This is the perfect time for homeowners in do an energy efficiency check and remedy not just the area where the cold breeze was detected, but other sections of the home in need of reinforcement. This means checking the weather-stripping on all doors and windows, as well as examining (and if necessary, replacing) the caulking around doors and windows. You should also do the same anywhere an indoor object penetrates a wall, i.e. air vents and outside faucets.
Mind Your Heating System
It’s no secret that a furnace/boiler works hardest during the winter, which is why homeowners should pay extra attention to these units this time of year. If a room or area of your home experiences a drastic drop in temperature, or your heating system starts making odd noises, call your local HVAC company right away and have the system inspected. The problem might have to do with the system being dirty: the standard rule of thumb is to have an oil-burning furnace cleaned once a year, and a gas furnace every 1-2 years. And for high-efficiency heating systems, you’ll want to ensure that the outside PVC vent pipes are always clear of snow and debris. Last but not least: change your furnace’s air filters at the recommended interval for their size.
Clean Your Fireplace
Left uncleaned, wood-burning fireplaces are susceptible to dangerous buildups of creosote, which could lead to a house fire. A regular fireplace cleaning conducted by a professional chimney sweep can minimize the chances of this happening. Gas fireplaces should be checked too for any wintertime debris that may block the chimney.
For more winter home maintenance tips and to schedule a professional home inspection in the Minneapolis and St. Paul metro area, contact Inspecta-Homes today.