10 Winter Home Maintenance Tips That Pay Off

The fall is the perfect time to start thinking about winter home maintenance. This is because there are several things you need to do before the season begins to ensure a safe and comfortable winter season in your home.

10 Winter Home Maintenance Tips

‘High’ Priorities:

Gutters –

  • Gutter cleaning is critical to winter home maintenance. Remove debris from gutters. If water backs up, it can cause ice dams or leaks. It can also damage gutters or siding.

Roof –

  • Inspect and upgrade attic insulation and ventilation.
  • Purchase a roof rake for easy winter home maintenance on your roof.
  • Remove snow as quickly as possible after storms.

Trees –

  • Trees can be a big issue, so make sure they are part of your winter home maintenance plans. Keep an eye on any trees close to your house. Winter storms can cause trees to fall. Dead trees will fall much more easily, so if you have any in your yard, it’s best to remove them.
  • Trim branches close to windows or the roof. Snow can make them heavy causing them to break and potentially damage your home, or worse, someone!

A Clean Sweep:

Pathways –

  • Try to clear anything slippery, sharp or that is cluttering your path ways. When it’s cold and raining, snowing, icy or sleeting, these things could be dangerous.
  • Clear your pathways/driveway right away after a snow to avoid injury as well. The longer you wait, the more ice can build up.

snow path clearing winter home maintenance

Chimneys –

Have your fireplace cleaned by a certified chimney sweep every year for your standard winter home maintenance. It’s a safety measure since buildup of creosote from previous fires inside the chimney can actually cause a house fire. You’ll be using it a lot in the winter so it’s imperative that it’s clean before the season.

Water Woes:

Frozen Pipes –

  • As one of the most important winter home maintenance, pay attention to your pipes. Set your heat no lower than 55 degrees. The temperature inside the walls where water pipes are located is colder than the living spaces. This will help to prevent frozen pipes.
  • When the weather will be very cold, let water drip from hot and cold faucets overnight.
  • Try keeping cabinet doors open to let warmer air circulate around your sink pipes. If you open the cabinet doors, remove anything hazardous to children, like household cleaners.
  • For exposed pipes in your attic, basement, or crawlspaces, add extra insulation. Frozen pipes can be a pain, and busted pipes can cause TONS of damage to your home.

frozen-pipe winter home maintenance

Water on the floor –

  • Use mats in entryways of the home, especially if you have hardwood floors. The water that is tracked in can easily damage your flooring. On tile, LVT or laminate, it can cause a slippery surface which could lead to falls, which is never good.
  • Set up an area for wet shoes to avoid tracking it throughout the house as well.

Hot & Cold:

AC/Furnace Maintenance –

  • Have your furnace or boiler checked at least once a year. We recommend this before the winter begins in case you need a replacement.
  • Clean or replace the furnace filter on forced hot air systems or have your furnace cleaned. Do this before winter as well.
  • Maintain your wood-burning stove.
  • When using high-efficiency heating systems, make sure that PVC vent pipes are free of any debris.

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Energy Efficient Windows –

Poorly insulated or old windows can cause money to go literally flying through the cracks.

  • Check caulking around windows
  • Decide if you need replacement windows
  • Check to see if you need new weatherstripping
  • Make sure the walls around windows are sealed. If not, fix them.

caulking-windows winter home maintenance

Drafty Doors –

Your door can play a large part in letting in cold air, and letting heat out. Make sure that you check the things listed below as part of your winter home maintenance checklist every year.

  • Check to see if there are gaps around your doors
  • Check non-functional weatherstripping
  • See if you would benefit from a storm door for extra protection.
  • Open doors to unoccupied rooms to keep an even temperature throughout the house.
  • A new door also gives a great return on investment, so if you do need a new front door, don’t consider it a loss, but a win. You’ll save money on heating and cooling bills and give your home a facelift!


Builders Surplus is a full service renovation company with locations in Louisville, Kentucky, and Newport, Kentucky, which also serves Cincinnati, Ohio. We are the leading provider of Ledge Stone, wall tile and backsplash tile in Louisville, Newport, and Cincinnati. We specialize in interior design, kitchen design, bathroom remodel, building materials, and home improvement. Interior Design and measurements come as a free service to our clients. We sell building materials ranging in every price point, from unfinished kitchen cabinets to top of the line Wellborn cabinets. In addition to interior design, we also offer installation services. If you have any questions or would like to set up a free design consultation with one of our interior designers, we would encourage you to do so. We love sharing our knowledge with clients & potential home renovators. We write about interior design, home decor, decorating ideas, and home improvement. We hope you’ll check back in for our next article! Happy Renovation!
Written by: Allie Bloyd

Spring Service for Your Home

This past winter was rough. Snow, snow, wind, rain, hail and more snow. I think I can speak for us all when I say that this sunshine that appears to be staying has been the highlight of 2015 so far. However, just because the bad weather is gone, the damage it did to your home is most likely to stay, unless you address them head on. Dwight Barnett is a certified master inspector with the American Society of Home Inspectors, and he was kind enough to shar this checklist to help you target the areas that need maintenance so you can get your chores done quickly, leaving you time to go outside and play in the sunshine.
  • Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
  • Low areas in the yard or next to the foundation should be filled with compacted soil. Spring rains can cause yard flooding, which can lead to foundation flooding and damage. Also, when water pools in these low areas in summer, it creates a breeding ground for insects.
  • Use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings and decks. Make repairs now before the spring rains do more damage to the exposed wood.
  • From the ground, examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
  • Examine the exterior of the chimney for signs of damage. Have the flue cleaned and inspected by a certified chimney sweep.
  • Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
  • Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground at least 2 feet from the structure.
  • Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. Turn the water on and place your thumb or finger over the opening. If you can stop the flow of water, it is likely the pipe inside the home is damaged and will need to be replaced. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.
  • Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
  • Check your gas- and battery-powered lawn equipment to make sure it is ready for summer use. Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.

There you have it. Although these are never the fun parts of home ownership, they’re a very important part, especially when you want to maintain or increase your investment. Although it comes with work, owning your own home is a joy, and you are blessed. Keep that in mind while you’re crawling around on your roof 🙂
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List via Dwight Barnett