Winter Maintenance Reminders

Winter Maintenance Reminders!

Home maintenance can be a real chore for anyone, but there is no avoiding the fact; what you don’t maintain now, can drain your wallet later.

During the winter months especially, there are numerous items in your home that need to be maintained. Below is a list of the most common winter maintenance items which should be checked each season.

  • Clean out gutters and downspouts
  • Change furnace filters
  • Insulate pipes in your home’s crawl space and attic
  • Caulk and weather-strip around windows and doors
  • Reverse your ceiling fans so that they are rotating in a clockwise direction once you have turned on your heat
  • Check the water hoses on the clothes washer, refrigerator icemaker, and dishwasher for cracks and bubbles
  • Clean kitchen exhaust hoods and filters
  • Check the attic for adequate ventilation
  • Check your roof for damaged, loose, or missing shingles, as well as breaks in the flashing seals around vent stacks and chimneys
  • Have your fireplace professionally cleaned, check your chimney for loose or missing mortar, and make sure your damper closes tightly
  • Winterize outside sprinklers, hoses and faucets
  • Have your lawn-irrigation system professionally drained
  • Store firewood at least 30 feet away from your home
  • Check outdoor lighting fixtures, replace bulbs
  • Install storm doors and windows
  • Maintain your heating unit/furnace and seal your ducts
  • Make sure all electrical holiday decorations have tight connections

These are just a few of the items that most homeowners should maintain during the winter months.

If you need assistance or just don’t have the time to get the job done, contact ANDY ONCALL®!

ANDY’s Helpful Tips!

Avoiding Scams

Scam artists are nothing new, but there are plenty of reasons to predict there will be even more of them due to tough economic times.  Here are some of the most popular and costly, home improvement scams.

  • One-Time Special: If a contractor approaches you with a special offer, ask for concrete evidence that the quoted price is lower than what they have charged in the past for the same work.  Don’t be pressured into accepting a deal that will expire before you have had a chance to do research, get competing bids, and check references.
  • Cash Before Work: Nothing should set off more alarm bells than the contractor who wants to be paid in full for a project before it’s started.  This arrangement sets you up for a disappearing contractor who never starts the work.  A reasonable down payment is expected to cover startup materials, but this should not exceed one-third of the total material value.
  • Fly-By-Night Contractor: For all contractors, you should apply due diligence.  Verify their name, business name and license number (if applicable), address and telephone number.  Ask for their insurance papers from their insurance company and verify that they are bonded in accordance with applicable laws.
  • I Might As Well: Be extremely wary of the contractor who knocks on your door and says he’s working just down the street.  He tells you he noticed a few things that need some work on your house and that you could save money by hiring him on the spot.

The bottom line, check the contractor’s business reputation and credentials.

Energy Efficiency

If there is one true fact when it comes to heating fuel or electricity it is that both sources of energy will never return to the prices of the past. Therefore, to save money and still live comfortably homeowners have to take matters into their own hands.

  1. Take Control of Your Thermostat: Turning down the heat to 68 degrees in the winter can save 5% – 10% on heating bills, and more by turning it lower when you’re asleep or away from home.
  2. ENERGY STAR: ENERGY STAR qualified appliances use 10% – 50% less energy and water than standard models.
  3. Winter Cleaning: Dirty air filters not only affect indoor air quality, but they can also reduce airflow, costing more during the winter months when heating is crucial.
  4. Fireplace: Keeping your fireplace damper closed when the fireplace is not in use will prevent heat loss and save money.
  5. Bundle Up Your Water Heater: Putting an insulation jacket or ‘blanket’ around water heaters can prevent a significant amount of heat loss. You can save 4% – 9% in water heating costs.
  6. Install Compact Fluorescent Lights: Replace old light bulbs with new, energy efficient ones and look out for LED replacements, which are quickly becoming an affordable alternative. One $10 bulb saves about $40 over its lifetime.

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