If you live in an area that experiences drastic winter weather, you’ve probably realized that the winter elements have some wear and tear on your home over time. In order to keep your home in good shape and to protect your indoors from cold, wet weather, there is some maintenance that you should be performing before and after each winter season. Here are some important home inspections that winter weather requires.
Inspect Your Roof
First off, you’ll want to inspect your roof before and after the winter seasons to make sure that it is functioning properly. Strong winds can blow some of the shingles off your roof, exposing the surfaces underneath to ice and snow. When water freezes on your roof, it can end up expanding holes and cracks that may have existed in a very small form on your roof. This can lead to serious breakage and indoor leakage if it isn’t taken care of quickly. If you don’t feel capable of thoroughly inspecting your roof yourself, hire a home inspector to determine how your roof needs to be maintained and repaired before the winter season arrives.
Inspect Your Attic
On a related note, you should also be inspecting your attic regularly. Even if you aren’t using your attic for storage or anything, it Is still important to inspect it so you can prevent any problems from reaching the interior of your home. If there are cracks, holes, or leaks in your roof that aren’t visible from the outside, you should be able to find them from inside your attic. Make sure that you are on the lookout for water damage in the form of mold, decay, or materials swollen with water retention. These signs will help you to determine where the issues are in your attic and how you can resolve them.
Inspect the Plumbing System
Next, it is important to inspect your plumbing system each year. During the winter, your plumbing pipes can freeze up if they aren’t properly insulated or installed. If you have pipe leaks, even if they seem small or insignificant, they can cause big problems once the winter comes. Pipe leaks can lead to the expansion of frozen water, causing damage to your home. It can also decrease the functionality of your plumbing if water starts freezing inside the pipes. Make sure that you hire a professional to inspect your plumbing system if you think you could have a serious issue on your hands.
Inspect Your Chimney and Fireplace
If your home has a chimney or fireplace, it is important to clean and maintain your fireplace throughout the year, but especially around the winter months. A fireplace needs a lot of work to maintain and keep clean. You need to make sure that you’re keeping an eye on the level of ash that you have in your firebox since a lot of ash can shorten the duration of your fire. You should also make sure that you keep the surrounding doors and hearth clean not only for the appearance but also so that your home stays clean inside. When you’re inspecting your roof, you should check to make sure that there isn’t any debris on the roof that could fall into the fireplace, causing an out-of-control fire or dangerous situation.
Inspect Your Windows
Another important winter inspection that you should perform is an inspection of your windows. If your windows are cracked, or if there are some areas around the window frames that have holes or leakage, it will be a lot harder to keep your home dry and warm inside. When this happens, your HVAC unit will work a lot harder to maintain the warm temperature that you like, and your energy bill will be more expensive. By adding a bit of caulking or replacing a broken window, you’ll be able to maintain an ideal temperature inside without running up your power bill.
Inspect Your Basement
It is also important that you inspect your basement before the winter months come on. The winter usually involves lots of rain, snow, and ice, and if your basement, or the window wells connected to it, have any cracks or damage, your basement could end up having leakage or flooding. It is already hard enough to keep your basement warm during the year, so make sure that you check for any potential damage before the cold, wet seasons to make sure that your basement stays warm and dry.
Inspect Your Garage
Even though you might not usually think of your garage as a part of your home that needs maintenance or inspection, it is actually very important to keep up with your garage’s condition before and during the winter months. Your garage generally doesn’t have a ton of insulation from the outdoor weather, so it is usually quite cold compared to your home’s interior. If you don’t have sufficient insulation protecting your home’s interior from the cold condition of your garage, your HVAC system might end up working too hard. Make sure that you check the wall that connects your garage to your interior for any signs of breakage or leakage. You should also inspect the door that leads to your interior, making sure that it has a good sealing system to keep out the cold.
Inspect Your Framing
Especially if you live in a location that has a heavy amount of snowfall, you might want to perform an inspection on the framing and construction of your home. If you have a heavy snowpack on top of your roof, it can affect your home’s stability and framing. Don’t worry, if your home is finished and the framing isn’t readily visible, you can still check for signs of damage. Look for cracks in your walls and paint for signs of shifting framing. If you notice a lot of cracks or if you notice an irregular shape in your wall, you may want to hire a professional inspector to determine how to help your home move forward.
Even though it might seem like a lot of work to inspect all of these different areas of your home, this is work and sacrifice that will be well worth it. Remember, if you don’t feel personally capable of taking care of some of the issues that you see, don’t hesitate to hire a professional. Protecting your home from the risks that winter weather can bring is one of the most important things that you can do each season.
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