Remember the Blizzard of ’78? View these amazing photos HERE
Don’t get stuck like we did back then…get prepared…
We won’t sugarcoat it: The thought of doing home maintenance right now is pretty blah—especially with the holidays looming and weeks of gloomy winter days on the horizon. Who wants to do housework when you can curl up and binge-watch “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” instead?
So you’re forgiven if this is one article you don’t want to read. But before you take up permanent residence on the couch, you should at least skim it. That’s because winter chills bring a number of home-related ills—and if you don’t keep up with a little maintenance now, you could be in for catastrophic repair costs later.
So pull yourself out of hibernation mode and get started. The good news? We’ve done the heavy lifting for you, identifying the top tasks to tackle—and what professional help will cost you if you find yourself in over your head.
Give your gutters one last scrub
Hopefully, you’ve been clearing out your gutters on the regular. But once every tree is bare, it’s time for one final cleaning session to “avoid moisture building up against your house—and ice dams,” says Derek Christian, the owner of Handyman Connection in Blue Ash, OH.
Ah, ice dams: winter’s favorite boogeyman. These troublemakers happen when warm air meets a cold, wet roof, creating supersized icicles. Eventually, that ice and moisture can find their way underneath your shingles, rotting your roof, and leaking into the living spaces below.
But ice dams are easily avoided—as long as you do a little prep.
DIY: Cleaning out your gutters is simple enough to do yourself. For extra protection, Jason Metzger, the head of risk management for PURE Insurance, recommends installing heat strips on your gutter or roof edges to keep frozen precipitation from building up.
Call in the pros: Have you been really lackadaisical with your gutter cleanings? An expert can scoop out all the gunk. Expect to pay $100 to $250.
Is your furnace prepped for winter? While this might vary based on your specific model, Christian advises homeowners to check their furnace for a “winter” and a “summer” switch, which controls your humidifier.
“In the summer, the airflow to the humidifier needs to be cut off; but in the winter, you want air going through it,” he says.
That keeps your skin from drying out, your eyes from itching, and your floorboards from creaking.
DIY: Switching your humidifier on is an easy task. If your furnace lacks this feature, a stand-alone humidifier, like this Honeywell model, will do the job.
Call in the pros: Adding a humidifier to your furnace is simple. Costs start at about $370.
Insulate (and inspect) the attic
House always feel drafty? Your attic could be to blame. Check to make sure this space is sufficiently insulated. And while you’re up there, make sure no rodents can shimmy in and create their own winter retreat. (Eek!)
“Make sure any gaps and holes into your attic are sealed tight,” Christian says. “As winter approaches, critters will be looking for somewhere to spend it.”
DIY: Stuff gaps with insulation, and fill cracks with caulk to keep the critters—and the cold—out.
Call in the pros: If you’re noticing a severe lack of insulation (or you require six blankets just to keep your body temperature normal), hiring a pro to add insulation will be worth the cost. The national average to install blown-in insulation is $1,400.
Questions? Feel free to contact me ANY TIME!
John Connolly, REALTOR
c/txt: (781) 985-9064