As a homeowner, you may have already discovered the relationship between ongoing maintenance and the health of your home. To take this a step further this winter, some maintenance tasks will also impact your physical health and safety as well.
Before winter settles in fully, here are some important points to cover on your winter checklist.
Carbon Monoxide/Smoke Detectors Must be Working
As far as health and safety go, having working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be at the top of your home maintenance list. Take time this season to test your units and clean out the interior with a vacuum.
Remember to put in fresh batteries. This is a good opportunity to ensure that you’ve got a fire extinguisher in place on each floor as well.
While you might be able to smell smoke to alert your family, carbon monoxide is the silent killer. It’s colorless, odorless and tasteless. That’s why it is so important to make sure that your alarm is working.
De-Ice With Salt or Sand
Another major hazard in your home this winter is your outdoor steps, walkways, and driveways. Don’t risk injury. Stock up on de-icer to dissolve the ice and give you better traction.
You can use commercial de-icer, which works very well, but is toxic to pets and plants. It also could potentially contaminate your water, depending on the circumstances.
Another option is to use rock-salt or sand. Both of these work pretty and can be better when de-icing frozen pipes, since there carry water inside of your home.
Ventilation and Insulation are Very Important
In order to stay warm and dry this winter, you need to rely on two things: that your home is well-insulated and that it is well-ventilated. Of particular importance with insulation inside the attic.
Heat rises, which means that a poorly-insulated attic is giving the warm air a portal to escape through. How do you know if your attic is properly insulated? You can climb a ladder and investigate, but there are other ways that you can tell.
Do you have drafty rooms? Do you have heating bills that are inexplicably high? Are there cold spots on the floor and ceiling? Are you bothered by pests? Have you experienced frozen pipes or leaks in your attic?
These can all be signs that you need to increase or repair your insulation. Not only will a well-ventilated home heat more evenly, but it will also improve air quality. If there is too much moisture, mold grows, which can threaten your health. Run fans often to keep things dry; get in the habit of opening windows a tiny bit daily to let a little fresh air inside.