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Charlie Glahe WIN Broomfield

The do's and don'ts of December home maintenance

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December means that the holiday season is here in full swing. While many homeowners may want to relax, put their feet up by the fire and get ready for some shopping, others are focused on crucial improvements to prepare for winter.

This month can be the perfect time to make crucial upgrades to a house, especially as severe winter weather gets closer - or has already arrived. A home inspection can be a vital asset during the winter. A licensed professional could help identify problem areas throughout a property, and recommend needed upgrades to keep everyone warm during the coldest months.

Snow can illuminate many problems
Some people may dread the first snowfall, but major storms during December can be the perfect opportunity to make sure a house is in top shape, according to MSN Real Estate. For instance, that blanket of snow can cause problems that would have otherwise been hidden from view.

One tell-tale sign of an issue might be melting snow from the roof, the news source noted. If inches are running off quickly after falling, that could be an indicator that heat is escaping from the roof too quickly. The simple fix here is additional insulation. More signs of a similar problem are icicles forming without a thaw. Homeowners should take a look around the attic and make sure that insulation on the floor is uniform and evenly distributed. It also might need replacing if it is wet or damp, which could be indicative of a leak.

A property inspection can find problems like this, and help homeowners determine where winter issues are forming. Regular maintenance shouldn't be forgotten, either, MSN Real Estate noted. After a big snowfall, all walkways should be cleared properly. Then, the roof can be checked for ice dams. These will end up causing melted snow to puddle, possibly running through the roof and into a home. Better yet, homeowners may want to sweep snow off the roof altogether if it is safe to do so. This is only advisable at flat or shallow angles, since steeper roofs can be dangerous.

Steps to secure a property for the winter
December can be the perfect month to take some precautionary steps to protect a home, especially if homeowners haven't done so already. A home inspection might be a smart choice during this time as well, because it could find numerous flaws that require immediate attention.

According to BobVila.com, proactive steps during the winter will end up saving money, protecting vital components and keeping the entire residence safe. For starters, homeowners should check all the weatherstripping around windows and doors. Energy leaks are a serious drain on a budget, and this task is both simple and cost-effective.

In addition, replacing screen doors and window screens with storm ones is another intelligent change. Taking the time to do this will make a home feel warmer, and it will keep all of that hot air from escaping outside. Any broken windows and doors should also be replaced immediately, because gaps or damaged sections can let heat out and pests in.

A home inspection of all heating components is also a good idea during December. BobVila.com explained that the firebox and flue system must be clean, and any drafts in the fireplace could be a sign that the damper is cracked, warped or warn. If a home relies on the furnace instead, the air filter should be changed out before this demanding season.

Overall, homeowners may want to be cautious during December. This month is typically when winter first hits, which means a house's components are going to be put to the test. Instead of leaving everything up to chance, a property inspection can put residents' minds at ease when the temperature drops.