Winter is just around the corner, which means it is time to get your house in shape for the cooler months ahead. Each season your home goes through changes in temperatures, weather conditions, and aging. In order to keep all your components of your home running smoothly, and to avoid costly repairs later, it’s helpful to conduct seasonal maintenance actions each season.
What to Expect:
Air becomes more dry outdoors
- It becomes important to regulate relative humidity (RH) inside the home. Condensation on windows is the primary indicator of higher humidity inside the home relative to the exterior temperature/humidity. Some condensation on windows is normal.
- Review materials from your final walkthrough packet regarding relative humidity to maintain in the home based on exterior temperature.
Wood products shrink/contract
- Doors may become ‘tight’. This is normal but may require homeowner to make adjustments as needed. This happens because the wood framing around the exterior doors contracts but the steel door does not. This is normal but may require homeowner maintenance to keep door functional.Cabinets and Interior Doors may require homeowner to make adjustments for optimal function.Laminate flooring is a floating floor (not nailed or glued) and may contract or shift slightly.
Garage doors do not always seal out the elements 100%. Some ‘play’ is normal between garage doors and weather strip or concrete and strong winds may push some exterior elements into garage.
Windows have a mole-hair style weather strip which is not an ‘air-tight’ seal. Depending on the wind, some minor drafts may be felt at certain spots on the windows, particularly where slider panes come together.
What you can do:
- Ensure a clean filter. Change regularly as recommended by a HVAC professional.
- Ensure furnace intake/exhaust ports outside the home remain clear and unobstructed by snow/ice build up. This is the main reason for a furnace to stop running in winter. If this happens, simply remove the snow/ice from around the ports outside the home.
- Have a good dehumidifier running in your main living area. In fact, we recommend a dehumidifier running on each level of the house.
- Furnace fan to ‘ON’ position instead of ‘AUTO’ keeps air circulating even if heat is not needed.
- Run bath fans frequently
- Consider having an HVAC professional install an Air-Exchange system onto your furnace.
- Note – This will significantly help regulate relative humidity but some effects, like condensation on windows, will still exist to some extent.
- Wipe up condensation on windows immediately and often so that water is not allowed to sit and lead to mold/mildew formation. If mold/mildew forms, clean with water/bleach mixture. Excessive condensation can also run onto wood extension jambs and cause damage to wood/finish.
- Sliding windows and sliding door are removable for cleaning. Additionally, the track on which they slide is also removable. Keep these clean as water is intended to enter the track and drain outside the home through ‘weep holes’ in the bottom of the window frame.
- Adjust door thresholds to minimize drafts. To do this, remove plastic caps and turn screws with flathead screwdriver until desired height is achieved to form a good seal with door sweep on bottom of door.
- Add corner pads weather stripping to exterior door jambs to minimize gaps. These can be purchased from most home improvement stores.
- Consider installing a storm door, especially on North-facing doors, to add another layer of protection from strong North winds.
- Remove black hose and replace with 3” diameter PVC pipe to prevent and ice dam build-up which can prevent water from draining properly and may lead to sump pump overheating and damage.
- Consider having a plumber install a sump bypass into your city sewer drain. Note – Most cities require an annual permit to divert sump water into city sewer drain.
Snow on Roof
- If snow is allowed to buildup on the roof it can lead to an ice-dam forming during freeze/thaw cycles in the fall and spring which can result in unwanted moisture coming through roof into the home or garage. Keep roof clear of snow by using a roof-rake or electric heat-tape (available at most home improvement stores).