Whether you live in a wet winter climate or a cold and snow blanketed one, your log home needs to be ready for the arrival and duration of old man winter. Proper maintenance is key to the upkeep of your home and will help ensure that your home doesn’t start to create rot, water leaks and other conditions that can affect the life of your home.
There are many things that you can do to help ensure the longevity but here are our top ways to get you ready for winter that doesn’t take a huge amount of time but can save you in the long run.
#1 Insulate windows and patio doors
Nothing is worse than feeling a constant draft in your home or cranking up the heat to stay warm, only to have it leak outside. For this reason it is important to do a test to see if and where you may have air leaking out and creating drafts in your home. To do a simple check for drafts around windows and doors you can do a smoke test using an incense stick. Close all doors and windows and turn on the bathroom fan. Run the incense stick around the window and if the smoke wavers, there is a leak. Check with your local building supply store for advice on repairing this problem.
At the same time, it’s important to check all spots you’d have weather stripping and areas that have been caulked. These two things are extremely important, as we mentioned above to prevent a draft. Plus, they are extremely inexpensive to do, and it only takes you a few hours to complete. If you have older windows that are single or double pained, you may want to put window plastic over them to help prevent a draft or apply a new layer of weather stripping. Having plastic over your windows may not be as aesthetically appealing but it will save you on your heating bill over the winter and keep your home warm.
#2 Check the Exterior
Don’t forget that while you’re making sure the inside of your home is insulted also make sure the outside walls have a good cleaning and remain in tacks. A good inspection will allow you to assess for worn areas where stain may be less visible and sealant that could be wearing down. Consider applying a new coat of sealant if your wall exterior is looking bare, as this will protect your home and extend its lifespan.
At the same time, you’re looking to see if a new coat of sealant is needed, look for any new checks that may have opened up in your logs. This is an area where water can enter the log and create rot and other damages. If you do notice any checks make sure to get the proper sealant and caulking for that as well.
#3 Clean gutters
Throughout the summer and fall leaves and twigs may land on your roof and can fill your gutters which can cause the water to not flow properly. Take a few minutes on a nicer afternoon to check your gutters, clear all debris and make sure that water can flow and drain easily. Keep in mind that guard systems screen out large leaves, but gunk and small debris still accumulate and that’s usually what clogs our systems.
Once you clean the debris you can check the joints and downspouts for cracks or holes. If the drain pipe is not connected to an underground drain, make sure it is running away from your home and not pointed toward your foundation. If the water is flowing towards your house contact a local roofing company to fix it or else over time the water can lead to rot and decay. If you don’t have the time to look after this contact a local garden and maintenance company and they can help maintain it for a minimal fee.
Make sure to also check your roof area for holes and access points when clearing leaves and debris. Squirrels, mice, and other rodents are also looking for a nice place to stay during the winter, don’t let your home be one of them.
You should make sure that the drainage area around the downspout is functioning properly as well. The roof area should also be checked for any leaks around the flashing at the chimney and around the vents for the heating or sewer system.
#4 Check your heating system:
Whatever heating system you have in your home, be sure to check what the manufacturer’s recommendation is on maintenance. Every company has a recommended checklist and these should be followed to ensure the safe and efficient running of your heat source. If you have an older model furnace, a technician can tell you if it is running efficient or if it is time to consider purchasing a newer more energy efficient model; some companies offer furnaces that run 90% plus inefficiency.
If your log home does have a fireplace or wood stove make sure to carry a good amount of firewood to last and get you through the winter. Keep your firewood stored somewhere that is not directly next to or on your home such as a deck. With firewood comes pesky insects that can affect the life of your homes such as beetles, wood roaches, termites and carpenter ants. When you’re ready to bring wood inside your home only bring in what is needed.
There are always other things that pop up that are out of our control when it comes to your homes. It doesn’t happen often, but a power outage is always a possibility during the winter months when wind speeds pick up and heavier snowfalls. Make sure your home is also prepared for the season with backup generators, batteries, flashlights, candles, water and food, just in case the power does go out.
By following these few simple steps that should only take a few hours to complete could save your wallet from having to pay for added maintenance and restoration costs in the future. Now sit back in front of your cozy fireplace and relax knowing you’re secure during the winter months in a well-protected and insulated home!