Home Improvement

Common Household Issues During the Winter

Preventing potential home damage during wintertime necessitates an assessment of the problem area, time to plan, and execution of a solution.

The first snowfall of the year can be charming to watch. Cozying up on the sofa with a cup of hot cocoa is one of the best parts of the season, but don’t be fooled. Snow, ice, and plunging temperatures can cause some severe problems for homeowners. 

What to Look Out For

Preventing potential home damage during wintertime necessitates an assessment of the problem area, time to plan, and execution of a solution. Knowing some common household issues that can arise is a good place to start. 

Dry Air 

Turning on the heat can mean reduced humidity. This drier air can cause dry skin, allergies, irritate pets, and cause sore throats. Some ways to fix dry air include:

  • Buying a portable humidifier
  • Drying wet clothes on racks rather than in the machine
  • Stocking up on house plants that can improve air quality, such as snake plants or succulents 

Frozen Pipes 

To prevent frozen pipes, start wrapping interior pipes. You can also drain outside lines, like the garden hoses or sprinkler system. 

Frozen pipes need to be identified right away to keep from bursting and further damage. If the underneath of your sink feels cold, or one faucet or showerhead randomly stops working, call a plumber right away

Drafty Windows

A cold draft can make itself apparent in winter. If you notice a draft, there are a few steps you can take:

  • Cover the interior window with shrink wrap until you can fix it
  • Fix or replace the weatherstripping
  • Fill in outdoor caulking, which can chip and crack over time

Drafts are one fix with plenty of DIY kits and solutions on the market. Hopefully, you won’t need to pay for professional help. 

New Mold

Condensation by windows and doorways mixed with indoor heating can create a perfect environment for mold to grow. There are a few steps you can take to reduce wintertime mold:

  • Wiping down potential problem areas with a bleach and water solution 
  • Making sure gutters and downspouts aren’t leaking and point away from the foundation of your house 
  • Using an air filter 
  • Setting up a gentle fan for increased air circulation

Ice Dams

Ice dams are when water builds up in the gutters and causes enormous piles of ice to form. Not only are icicles and ice dams damaging to your gutters, but they are also extremely dangerous

To keep these household woes from ruining your holiday season, break off any large icicles as they freeze. Shoveling near corners can also help reduce strain on the drains. 

Broken Shingles

Strong winds can ruin shingles. Unfortunately, this is one winter issue that needs to be fixed before it happens. Check your roof for any potential problems before the first frost.  

The cement used to adhere shingles to roofs doesn’t work as well in cold weather, and the shingles themselves are more brittle in cold temperatures. If you want to avoid shingle-woes all together, consider installing a metal roof, which is long-lasting and environmentally friendly. 

Faulty Furnaces

Your furnace matters most during winter, but this is also the time it’s most likely to stop working. Make sure to change the filter often and check up on your furnace periodically. One of the most dangerous home problems can occur because of an old furnace: carbon monoxide leaks. 

If your furnace is over 10 years old, make sure to get it inspected for potential carbon monoxide leaks. If your carbon monoxide detector goes off, call a professional immediately. 

Conclusion

The best way to protect your home from winter damage is to take time each fall to inspect potential problem areas. Simple problems, like weatherstripping or adjusting humidity, can be addressed as they arise. Otherwise, you may want to consider getting professional help to mitigate damage and prevent future problems.

By staying on top of home maintenance, you can spend more time skiing, skating, or watching movies and less time worrying. 

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