Avoid Costly Problems This Winter

Imagine sitting in a cozy recliner in front of a crackling fire and sipping hot cocoa. Then, just as you reach complete relaxation, you feel a chill from a cold draft under the door. This moment of winter discomfort could have been prevented with the proper maintenance.
Inspecting your home on a regular basis and keeping it properly maintained throughout every season is the best way to protect your home. A regular schedule of seasonal repairs can put a stop to the most common (and costly) problems before they occur.
You don’t have to be a seasoned do-it-yourselfer. Some of the maintenance and repairs to your home may be easily accomplished with the use of a maintenance book or manual from your local library. For unfamiliar or difficult jobs, it is best to consult a professional.
Proper care and maintenance of your home helps provide a healthy and safe environment for your family, while preserving its value. It’s the biggest investment you’ll ever make!
Here are home maintenance tips for January and February:
Your household appliances probably got quite a workout during the recent holiday season. Now is the time to get them back in shape.
Drip pans on most stoves can be removed and put in a dishwasher for cleaning. For stubborn stains use a scouring pad, or replace the pans altogether. Clean underneath range hood. Remove and clean or replace range hood filters.
Self clean your oven and get rid of all those splatters from holiday cooking. To clean porcelain stovetops or glass range/oven control panels use a non-abrasive cleanser or glass cleaner. Be careful of “cream type” cleansers as they often have tiny abrasive particles in them, which can damage your stovetop or control panel.
Use a vacuum with a narrow nozzle to clean condenser coils on the back or underneath your refrigerator.
Clean refrigerator door seals so they don’t get stuck to the door frame and tear. Use an old toothbrush and a little soap and water to clean in all the nooks and crannies. Use a bit of bleach for any mold growth.
Repair worn dishwasher rack tines to prevent rust pieces from ruining the pump. Clean the rusted spots on the dishwasher rack with sandpaper to make the repair last longer.
As you snuggle in front of a cozy fire or bask in the warmth of your wood stove, you are taking part in a ritual of comfort and enjoyment handed down through the centuries. However, if you don’t give some thought to the condition of your chimney before you light those winter fires, your enjoyment may be very short-lived. Why? Dirty chimneys can cause chimney fires.
Have your solid fuel venting system inspected annually, and have it cleaned and repaired whenever needed.
Use seasoned woods only (dryness is more important than hard wood versus soft wood considerations). Build smaller, hotter fires that burn more completely and produce less smoke. Never burn cardboard boxes, wrapping paper, trash or Christmas trees; these can spark a chimney fire.
Install stovepipe thermometers to help monitor flue temperatures where wood stoves are in use, so you can adjust burning practices as needed.
Have the chimney inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.
The Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends that you call on certified chimney sweeps, since they are regularly tested on their understanding of the complexities of chimney and venting systems.