5 ways to take care of your home this winter

Close up of a roof with snow and ice

Midwest residents know all too well how winter can extend into March and April, as well as the importance of remaining comfortable while it's still freezing outside. Here are five ways you can take care of your house throughout the winter:

1. Clear the gutters and roof

The first item on your winter home maintenance checklist should be to keep your roof and gutters clear of debris and, most importantly, snow.

Snow might not seem like much of a threat, but if too much builds up, it can potentially lead to structural damage. Even worse, ice dams may form.

"Even worse, ice dams may form."

According to The Family Handyman, ice dams form after heavy snowfall [1]. Once the snow begins to melt, it reaches the edge of a roof. However, it may then refreeze to form mounds of ice. Water can then seep through the roof and damage your home's interior.

Luckily, you can prevent ice dams. Purchase a roof rake to clean off the top of your home after it snows. If you don't feel comfortable clearing your roof of snow, you can contact a professional service to come out and complete the task. In addition, occasionally cleaning out the gutters will also help ensure water doesn't back up and form ice mounds.

Ice dams can also be prevented by making some changes on the inside of your house, which brings us to the next way to care for your home.

2. Add more insulation

One method to prevent ice dams from forming, and to keep your house warmer, is to add more insulation, particularly in the attic. More insulation prevents heat from escaping your home and melting snow on top of the roof. The Family Handyman recommended you add some if you have less than 8 inches of insulation depth in the attic.

According to Remodeling magazine, adding insulation isn't cheap, as the average job costs about $1,268 [2]. But this project provides a large return on investment of about 117 percent and cheaper utility bills.

While the initial sticker price of new insulation may seem jarring, it's a project that can help you save money and protect your home. Make sure your budgeting accounts for this type of project. If you need to, borrow money from your savings account.

3. Maintain the furnace

You need to maintain your furnace during the winter, otherwise, you're going to be wearing multiple layers of clothes to stay warm at night.

Change out the filter every few months, as this task easily takes no more than a handful of minutes. Even better, new filters aren't expensive.

Keep tabs on the efficiency of your furnace as well. If your home doesn't feel warm, even though your thermostat indicates otherwise, there could be bigger issues with your heating system. In this case, call a professional service for potential repairs.

4. Inspect and replace smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

The winter can be a dangerous time if smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) detectors aren't working because windows aren't always open. When was the last time you swapped out the batteries and tested the devices out?

If it's been a while, make it a priority to ensure fire and CO detectors function properly. Neglecting these devices throughout your home is not ideal because the consequences can be severe.

5. Shovel, salt and install

Make sure to head outside following fresh snowfall to tidy up. Fresh snow is pretty, but if you let it linger, it'll eventually make it difficult and dangerous to walk.

Shovel every walkway, including the front sidewalk, and throw down salt to prevent ice from forming. Don't be that neighbor who neglects to shovel and makes it a hassle for others to navigate past.

Another way to maintain your home is to install weather strips. These are helpful if you notice cold drafts, particularly near windows and doors. Install these strips in minutes and you'll prevent heat from escaping and money from being wasted.

Even if clothing stores are gearing up for the spring, you know all too well winter isn't actually over. Maintain your home by checking the furnace, shoveling and clearing the roof of snow so you can enjoy the remainder of winter in comfort.

[1]. Prevent Ice Dams

[2]. 2016 Cost vs Value Report

The information provided in these articles is intended for informational purposes only. It is not to be construed as the opinion of Central Bancompany, Inc., and/or its subsidiaries and does not imply endorsement or support of any of the mentioned information, products, services, or providers. All information presented is without any representation, guaranty, or warranty regarding the accuracy, relevance, or completeness of the information.