A guest article Written By Angela Tollersons of ForFamilyHealth.net
How to Avoid Costly Home Repairs This Winter
When you think of home maintenance, you might think about tasks such as repainting your walls, refinishing a floor, or simpler chores such as mowing the lawn. But there are other regular home maintenance activities that are critical for avoiding costly catastrophes. Winter is a season that’s particularly harsh on homes, with snow, ice, and frigid temperatures creating the potential for fallen tree limbs, damaged roofs, broken pipes, and more. Here’s how to avoid costly home repairs this winter.
Clean Your Gutters
Cleaning the gutters isn’t anyone’s idea of a great time, but it’s a chore that can save you many headaches (and plenty of money) later. That’s because clogged gutters don’t allow water to drain from your roof and away from your home, which can lead to ice dams in freezing temperatures, subsequently damaging your roof. If replacing your roof this spring isn’t on your agenda or in your budget, it’s well worth your time to spend a few hours cleaning your gutters.
Drain and Flush Your Water Heater
Your water heater is one of those out-of-sight, out-of-mind appliances, that is until you find yourself in a cold shower with no hot water in sight. Periodically draining and flushing your water heater can prevent sediment buildup – a common issue in homes with hard water – and keep your water heater running efficiently. With regular maintenance, your water heater is less likely to go on strike when you least expect it. That said, if your water heater is 10 to 15 years old, it might be time to consider a replacement anyway.
Repair Cracks in Your Foundation and Concrete Sidewalks or Slabs
One of the biggest hazards to your home in the winter is freezing temperatures coupled with precipitation. When water freezes, it expands, which is one of the most common causes of broken pipes. Frozen water can also cause big problems in your home’s foundation and concrete slabs, such as sidewalks. If water seeps into tiny cracks and then freezes, those cracks will grow larger and you’ll have more damage to contend with in the spring. Avoid this by having these areas inspected by a professional and repairing small cracks before freezing temperatures hit.
Take Care of Problematic Tree Limbs
If you have trees with limbs that stretch over the roof of your home, these limbs could end up being the cause of serious damage to your home this winter. It’s a good idea to remove any dead or especially weak limbs, as well as those that hang over your roof, as the weight of ice and snow can cause these limbs to snap.
Know Your Insurance Policy
Many home owners are surprised to learn that their homeowners’ insurance policy won’t cover certain damages. Insurance companies sometimes have clauses that exclude any disasters deemed an “act of God,” and in other cases, policies won’t cover damages to certain property features, such as an overflowing septic tank. Even if your policy covers the specific damages your property has suffered, you might be responsible for a pretty hefty deductible – often $500, $1,000, or more. Understanding precisely what your policy covers and what it won’t will allow you to be better prepared when unexpected costs arise.
If you know your potential costs, evaluate your risks, and take steps to protect your home and its features from the harsh winter elements, you’ll be less likely to find yourself in the midst of an unfortunate and costly experience this winter.
Angela Tollersons has a passion for family health and wellness. She currently volunteers as often as possible in her community with parenting and child advocacy groups, especially those who focus on special education and anti-bullying. When she is not updating her blog, she is usually exploring the great outdoors or playing a game of Scrabble with her family.