The long, dark days of winter are upon us, and with COVID-19 still keeping us closer to home, we’re keenly aware of all the maintenance tasks we’ve put off or let slip through the cracks.
And we hate to break it to you, but it’s time to get to work.
We know you’re wondering if you can get out of this. Must you really hit pause on your newest Netflix binge session and do, ugh, chores?
Well, no. You don’t have to do anything. But if you do, we guarantee you’ll save some money—and maybe even your sanity—down the line. A bit of maintenance now will prevent astronomical repair costs in the future.
So we asked a few experts for a list of things we should do while we hole up at home. Some of the tasks are things you can tackle yourself, and some might be better suited for a professional—following COVID-19 safety precautions, of course. But don’t worry: We’ve outlined how you can get them all done—as quickly as possible, of course, so that you can get back to your precious spot on the sofa.
1. Check your attic
We marvel at the beauty of the occasional sparkly icicles that hang from the eaves—but they could also mean your attic isn’t adequately insulated.
These primarily occur when there’s heat being lost from the interior living space of your home that leaks into your attic space. When that heat [from the roof] ‘interacts’ with the frozen snow on the outside, it can create an unnatural melting cycle that doesn’t actually allow for the melting snow to leave the roof.
If you don’t resolve the fluctuating temperatures in the attic, these ice dams can cause water accumulation to back up into your attic, causing damage to the roof and ceiling of your home.
2. Check for cracks
Bundle up and head outside to take a closer look at the foundation. Walk around the whole perimeter, and check for leaks or cracks where water can enter your home.
Even though there might not be a leak at the moment due to the freezing temperatures, look for areas that are compromised that could lead to melting snow or new rain seeping into your home.
3. Get a jump-start on spring painting
Get a head start on your next painting project.
With the double whammy of COVID-19 and winter, we’re spending even more time in the house, looking at the same faded colors of peeling and marred paint on the walls. But you don’t have to dream about the hot new color you’ll paint your living room and wait for months to roll it on.
In fact, here’s why you should do it now: The air is drier in the winter, and with the warm temperatures inside, the paint dries faster.
And with the right materials, you don’t have to open windows and freeze to avoid the stinky fumes while you paint. Low-VOC latex paint is less toxic and has fewer odors so that windows can remain shut.
Plus, scheduling a painter in winter might be quicker and easier to coordinate. We might even get you a substantial discount because winter is traditionally the slow season for painting.
4. Swap out your outdoor dryer vent covers
There are myriad reasons to upgrade these things: Once the temperatures take a nosedive, your old dryer vent can become a toasty nest for mice and an invitation into your house. Snow can pile up on top of old hooded vents and prevent them from opening, raising the risk of carbon monoxide buildup in the house. And vents with flimsy louvers can get clogged and not open and close properly—which can cause lint to back up, creating dryer failure, or worse, a fire hazard.
Regardless of the season, you want to use a vent cover with the best airflow efficiency, that meets code, and is pest/rodent-resistant.
5. Upgrade to a smart thermostat
A smart thermostat will save you money in the long run.
Stop us if this sounds familiar: Every winter, you turn down your thermostat when you leave the house or before going to bed. You turn it down on sunny winter days and back up when it’s windy and cloudy. Then there are the times you leave for a few days and agonize over whether you remembered to turn the heat down to save money.
This one change will make your entire home more energy-efficient. Just lowering the heat 8 degrees while you’re at work or sleeping can save hundreds of dollars each year.
6. Install hardwired smoke detectors
If you’re over going room to room checking the batteries on your smoke detectors, there’s no better time than now to upgrade to hardwired versions. After all, there are more house fires in winter than any other time of year, according to the American Red Cross.
The added benefit of hardwired smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is that they interconnect. If any one detector is activated, it triggers the rest of them and notifies everyone in the home.
We are here to help
If you are weary from the headaches of maintaining and renting out your property, Westhawk Property Management is here to help. We provide professional service to all properties we manage and offer Concierge service to owner-occupied homes so we help you to find roofers, electricians and other home pros to help you get jobs done.
The Westhawk Property Management team of professionals are here to help you build wealth through real estate investing. We will free you up to pursue your career, spend leisure time with your families, while at the same time saving you costs and frustration. Call us today to discuss how we can be of service to you.