Your dream home passed all of its inspections and the sellers took care of any minor fixes that you were hesitant about. Now you think it’s probably smooth sailing for the rest of your homeownership experience. While we hope that’s the case, sometimes it’s not. According to American Home Shield,
“Even a well maintained home can’t always avoid winter problems and inevitable system and appliance breakdowns”
That quote hit the nail on the head! Maybe you bought a home that was built in the seventies, or maybe you’re the first owner in one of our beautiful new construction homes from Venetia Pointe or Brick Ridge Estates – either situation could run into some problems during the harsh, cold, snowy and wet winter months that the greater Pittsburgh area often faces. But that’s where we’re here to help! Though the Pittsburgh is already definitely feeling the winter season, this blog will warn you about some problem areas that homeowners often encounter during the winter months so you can keep an eye out for them.
Though this might seem like the most common winter home repair, you’d be surprised how often it gets overlooked. You’ve probably already been using your heat quite a bit during this cold winter months, but you should still make sure it’s checked regularly. It’d be best to get it checked before frequent usage, but if you’re reading this in the middle of winter and it’s been running smoothly, it still doesn’t hurt to get it checked out. You don’t want to be without it when the coldest days hit Pittsburgh!
- A good bonus tip and way to make sure you are getting the most out of your heating system is to make sure you have no air leaks. Check around your doors and especially windows and caulk them with weather stripping materials (that can usually be found in home improvement stores) to prevent air from leaking.
This is another area that should be checked before winter begins and often results in leaks if it is neglected. Roof leaks are often caused by missing or loose shingles, according to our source. Of course with snow accumulation it can be hard to find these problems, which is why it should be done in the fall or warmer months.
- Also – if your home has a fireplace before you get warm and cozy around it make sure your chimney is clean and inspected before you use it. Chimney fires are more common than you think!
- Don’t forget about the gutters! Along with shingles, clogged gutters are also a great cause of roof leaks and should be cleaned out in the fall or warmer months as well. If you encounter a roof leak, the gutters or shingles could be the source
- Ice dams are a third concern that often occurs on the roofs or the roofline, as a result of melted water getting backed up.
Pipes bursting are probably the most common home repairs during winter months. Making sure they are properly insulated with foam insulation or whichever type you prefer is one good way to prevent pipes from bursting. Another is to make sure your cabinet doors are left open and to keep the heat on (at least at a lower temperature, but no lower than 55 degrees when you are not home.) However if you are going on vacation during the colder months, as so many do, it would be wise to turn you water completely off to avoid a disaster when you come home.
- Don’t forget about your outdoor faucets! In-ground automatic sprinkler systems, for example, can still leak if they aren’t being used. Drain and winterize your sprinklers to prevent leaks from happening – another great tip from our source.
- Tree Branches
Finally, don’t forget about those tree branches! While we know the last thing you want to do is go out in the cold and snow and trim your tree branches, you might have to! The snow, ice and rain can cause them to become heavy and fall and damage your home, fence or other landscaping you have around the house. Just keep an eye on them and keep them trimmed as much as possible (another good tip to do during the fall so you don’t have to go out in the cold!)
While most of these tips should be checked and fixed in the fall to avoid any problems in the winter, sometimes you just forget. We want you to enjoy the investment you made in your home to the fullest so you should definitely keep an eye on these common problem areas in the winter. Again, if you get everything cleaned and inspected during the fall or warmer months, winter should be smooth sailing for you! Also don’t forget to keep those walkway and driveways shoveled and salted to avoid dangerous falls! Follow all of these tips and you should be fine this winter!
Stay safe and warm!
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