Get your home winter-ready with our maintenance checklist

snowy front of home

Your home is likely your biggest asset, and the best way to protect it is regular inspections and maintenance, especially before a change of season. There’s a lot of seasonal maintenance tasks you can take care of on your own, or with the help of relatively inexpensive handyperson services.

Before the harsh winter weather takes its toll on your home – which could then take a toll on your wallet – go through this checklist of winter home maintenance tasks. A weekend or two of work can help you ensure a headache-free holiday season and new year.

If there are any tasks you don’t feel comfortable with or don’t have the tools or expertise for, it’s a great idea to call in a professional for help.

Your winter home maintenance checklist

  • Check and clean or replace your furnace air filters. This should be done every month during the heating season. Ventilation systems, such as heat recovery ventilator filters, should be checked every two months.
  • Clean your humidifier. Do this two or three times during the winter.
  • Vacuum bathroom fan grills to ensure proper ventilation.
  • Vacuum fire and smoke detectors. Accumulation of dust or spiderwebs can prevent them from functioning.
  • Vacuum radiator grills on the back of refrigerators and freezers, and empty and clean their drip trays.
  • If you have a fireplace, have your fireplace cleaned by a certified chimney sweep. Using your fireplace can help you keep energy bills down, but it must be checked and cleaned regularly.
  • Remove debris from your gutters to prevent leaks or ice dams.
  • Check gauges on all fire extinguishers, and recharge or replace as necessary.
  • Check fire escape routes, door and window locks, and hardware, and lighting around the home’s exterior. Ensure your family maintains good security habits, especially around the holiday season which often sees more break-ins.
  • Check and replenish your emergency supplies to ensure you’re prepared for any potential power outages.
  • Check electrical cords, plugs, and outlets for all indoor and outdoor seasonal lights to ensure fire safety. If showing signs of wear, or if plugs/cords feel warm, replace them immediately.
  • Drain off a dishpan full of water from the clean-out valve at the bottom of your hot water tank. This will control sediment and maintain efficiency – be sure to consult your hot water tank owner’s manual beforehand.
  • Check your basement floor drain to ensure the trap contains water, and refill it with water if it doesn’t.
  • Check all faucets for signs of dripping and change washers as needed. Faucets requiring frequent washer replacements may be in need of a more significant repair or replacement.
  • If you have a plumbing fixture that’s not used frequently, briefly run some water from the fixture to keep water in the trap. For example, a laundry tub or spare bathroom sink, tub, or shower stall. 
  • Clean the drains in your dishwasher, sinks, bathtubs, and shower stalls.
  • Test plumbing shut-off valves to ensure they’re working and to prevent them from seizing.
  • Put down floor mats to protect your entryway flooring. Tracked-in snow, ice, and road salt can cause significant damage to your floors, easily prevented with inexpensive mats.
  • Remove your window screens to boost natural light, improve solar heat gain, and stop snow from being trapped between the screen and window.
  • Monitor your home for excessive moisture, and take corrective action if necessary. For example, condensation on your windows, which can cause significant damage over time and pose serious health problems.
  • Check windows and doors for ice accumulation or cold air leaks. If found, take temporary actions like weatherstripping, and then make a note for a more permanent repair or replacement in the spring.
  • Examine your attic for frost accumulation, and check your roof for ice dams or icicles. If there’s excessive frost or staining of the underside of the roof, or ice dams on the roof surface, be sure to have an expert look into the issue.

Once the winter weather hits, be sure to regularly clear snow and ice from your walkways to prevent hard-to-remove ice buildup, as well as pricey tickets. You should also rake the snow off your roof if it’s accumulating, and keep an eye on trees near your home for large limbs prone to breaking.

Is maintaining your home becoming a full-time job? It may be time for a change. Visit properly.ca to learn how Properly can help you spend the new year in your perfect new home.