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Did you forget about these 2 winter maintenance tasks?

Winter is here. It’s cold and icy, snowy and windy, which may have reminded you of some winter maintenance tasks you might have forgotten about when the weather was warmer.  Here are 2 essential things that homeowners often forget to do prior to the cold weather setting in.

Shut off the outdoor water

This is arguable one of the most important early winter maintenance tasks. If outdoor taps are not shut off for the winter, you run the risk of burst pipes! And that’s something that nobody wants to deal with.

The reason is because water expands when it freezes and can take up to 10% more space than water in its liquid state.  If your outdoor pipes are already filled with water the expansion can become too much for your pipes to withstand.

What You Can Do Now

The shut off value for your outdoor faucets is actually inside of your house. Something you’re probably grateful to hear considering how cold it is outside. In most homes, it can be found in the basement. Simply locate them and shut everything off.

What to Know For Next Year

Safeguarding your outdoor pipes is actually a three-step process. Although, at this stage in the game (those minus 0 temperatures are here to stay, Brrr) you may only be able to get to step 1.

Next fall, in addition to shutting off the water, you should also disconnect and store your garden hose and then drain the faucet.

Inspect the attic for air leaks

While it can seem idyllic to see a house framed in icicles, the reality is icicles can also mean ice dams—and there is nothing idyllic about them. That’s because ice dams in the winter can lead to damaging leaks during the springtime thaw.

The best way to prevent ice dams is to maintain the temperature of your roof and attic. In this case, a cold roof is a sound roof.

Ice dams are the result of snow that has melted and dripped down to the edges. Once there, it refreezes, resulting in ice dams and icicles.

What You Can Do Now

The best way to prevent ice dams it to keep your roof and attic cold. If you are able, climb up into your attic, pull back the insulation (while wearing a long pants, a long sleeve shirt and dust mask) and check for any leaks, gaps, or cracks. These leaky spots can be filled in with caulking.

While in your attic, measure your insulation level. If you have less than 8 inches, you may need to contact a home insulation professional to have more added.

If you aren’t able or simply don’t want to crawl around in your attic, you can still take steps to prevent snow from melting on your roof and turning into ice dams. Simply head to your local home improvement or hardware store and pick up telescopic roof rake. After every heavy snow fall, take your roof rake and remove as much snow from the roof as possible. Unfortunately, this is not an ideal solution for two story homes, since you should never use a roof rack while standing on a ladder.

What to Know for Next Year

If you have plans to reroof when the warmer weather rolls back around, be sure to ask your roofing specialist about adding ice and water barrier.

You may also want to consider adding more insulation to your attic, if this isn’t something you want to do during the winter. Keep in mind that insulation keeps your home comfortable when it’s hot out as well.

Plan Ahead for Next Year

While it is ideal for homeowners to take on winter maintenance tasks during the warmer fall months, sometimes chores can fall through the cracks. It happens to everyone, so don’t feel badly about it. Simply do what you can to prevent problems now and then try to stay on top of these tasks when the weather gets warmer.

A really good way to ensure that your bigger seasonal tasks are completed is to simply hire a handyman service or other professional to take care of them for you. At, we have extensive listings for all types of home improvement professionals. Why not take a look, and find a local pro who can give you a helping hand?!

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