No matter where you live, there’s a guarantee that you’ve experienced lower than normal temperatures. Winter weather takes an extreme toll on your home, that’s why it’s important to make sure that every part of your home is in working order.
Here are a few things that can happen to your home during the winter:
- Your Chimney. According to the Wood Heat Organization, when indoor heated air wants to rise and it’s significantly colder outside, the rising hot air creates differences of pressure inside your home. This can affect your chimney because this is usually where cold air leaks occur. This creates negative air pressure that and can create a stack effect strong enough to force a cold backdraft in your chimney. This means that when you light a fire, it can cause smoke to enter the room instead of leaving the chimney.
- Exterior paint. Temperature fluctuations (from bitterly cold to super hot) can cause your home’s paint to peel right off. Temperature fluctuations can cause wood or other materials under the exterior paint to expand and contract, which makes the bond between paint and the surfaces grow weaker. Paint – especially lower quality exterior paints – can crack, flake off, or bubble under the stress of rapid, intense temperature changes. It can also change the color too!
- Moisture absorption. Cold weather causes dry air to absorb moisture wherever it can find it. Which means that it can start to pull moisture from the structure of your home. When this happens, you’ll notice that floors will begin to creak more. This can also happen to the wood in the frame of your home, which can make walls and door jambs shift. If your doors have become harder to open and close or you see gaps between ceilings and wall, this could be the problem. When these gaps start to form, this can let cold air seep in, which can cause your heating bill to increase.
- Roofing damage.
- Winds during the winter season can be brutal and can often lead to your home’s shingles being torn off, loosened, or broken. It can also cause your flashing to rip off or loosen, and it is especially hard on a roof’s ridges and rakes, which are more exposed to its stream. You can help prevent all of this by having a professional contractor inspect your roofing and fix all problems before winter arrives. This is also a good time to have a tree-trimming service cut back any overhanging or dead branches that a strong wind could break off and slam against your roof that will cause even further damage.
- Snow can pile up to several feet thick on certain parts of your roof, sometimes until its weight exceeds your roof’s load-bearing capacity. This can be the cause of creaking sounds, cracks above your windows and doors, and a bowed ceiling. If not fixed at the first time, parts of your roof can collapse.
- Ice can build up on the eaves of your home. This happens when melting snow runs down to the roof’s edges and re-freezes. This ice dam effect can block your gutters and prevent water from finding a pathway off your roof.
- Water backed up behind ice dams can freeze and thaw. This creates leakage points, besides exploiting pre-existing leak-prone areas. Your drywall, ceilings, floors can suffer heavy water damage when this happens. Mold and mildew will likely appear which is a major health hazard.
- Air Unit damage. During the winter your cooling/heating system is working overtime to provide you with the exact temperature you need to stay comfortable in your home. Something as simple as neglecting to change your air filter can cause your unit to break down. Air filters not only protect you and your family, they also help protect your unit by keeping dust and other harmful substances off your equipment.
Here are a few tips that you should take into consideration during the winter season:
- Inspect fireplaces, and chimneys before using, and have them cleaned if needed.
- Keep your drapes and blinds closed, except when windows are in direct sunlight.
- Cover or remove any window air conditioners.
- Caulk any cracks or holes on the outside of your house.
- Repair or replace weather stripping and thresholds around doors and windows.
- Run paddle ceiling fans on low in reverse (clockwise when looking up) to circulate warm air.
- Put draft snakes on window sills, between window frames, and against doors.
- If you heat with propane or fuel oil, make sure the tank is full.
- Make sure you are checking the status of your filter throughout the winter months.
According to Punxsutawney Phil, we have 6 more weeks of winter, but these simple changes can protect your home for the rest of this winter and for winters to come.