Seasonal Care Tips – Winter
Nilson Homes takes a great amount of pride in the homes we build for you and we want to help you protect your investment from change of seasons and weather elements. Here are a few important things you can do to prevent damage to your home that is not covered under warranty. Remember, preventative measures are almost always softer on the wallet than repairs and remodels.
Roofs (Peaks and Valleys)
Heavy winters with excessive snowfall can cause ice and snow build-up called “ice-damning” in valleys, gutters, and on your roof. Ice damming can cause water leakage into your home. It is important to realize that ice damming is an act of nature and not an element of improper construction and therefore not covered under your Nilson Home Warranty. Heat tape is a great preventative method against ice damming. Many rain gutter companies install heat tape. Please refer to your Nilson Homes Homeowners Manual (pg. 66) for more roof information.
It is very important to direct rain and water away from your foundation once it exits your down spouts. Water can build up around your foundation and cause dirt settling, foundation cracks and leaks, and other water-related damage. Three-inch corrugated pipe with yard pop-ups can be attached to your downspouts to direct water away. Ask your landscaper about attaching pop-up drains during landscaping.
Exterior concrete can be damaged by many winter weather elements. Driving and parking over ice, standing snow, and salt are some of the most harmful elements and can cause excessive cracking and spalling. As previously discussed, exterior concrete is NOT covered under your Nilson Homes Warranty. Sealing the surface of your concrete each autumn will help prevent damage. Also, use sand for safety and traction on your concrete instead of salt or de-icers. Don’t park on the concrete surfaces after driving on wet, salted streets. Park elsewhere until your automobile undercarriage has thawed and dried. Salt and de-icer build-up picked up from streets can also damage your concrete. Keep run-off water away from concrete surfaces. This can undermine driveways, walkways, patios and other concrete surfaces causing settling, sinking, and cracking problems. Your Homeowners Manual (pg. 39-40) has more valuable information for concrete protection.
Any exterior wood painted surface can swell and rot if exposed to standing water. Shoveling snow away from doors and other painted surfaces will help preserve these surfaces.
Leaves and debris can build up in your gutters over time and block natural water flow. Standing water in your gutters can ice up in winter months causing damage to your roof and home that is not covered by your home’s limited warranty. Before snowfall, gutters should be cleared. This is also a great time to install heat tape and Christmas lights. Your Homeowners Manual (pg. 53) has more valuable information about your gutters.
When you switch from air conditioning to heat in late fall months, standing dust in the system will be collected in your furnace filter. Check and, if necessary, replace your furnace filter for correct air flow.
Hoses and Hose Bibs
Your exterior hose bibs are a freeze-proof valve. However, if a garden hose is left attached, they will freeze. Remove all garden hoses from the hose bibs before temperatures fall below freezing levels.
Excessive winds can cause a downdraft (cold air into your fireplace) which can blow out your pilot light, requiring you to relight it before using the fireplace. Refer to your Heatilator instructions under your fireplace.
Snow and water can create rust on your exterior iron rails, causing the paint to flake and chip, voiding all warranty. Mild soap and water cleaning with periodic waxing with any liquid car wax will keep your rail looking new for years to come.
Water left in sprinkler pipes can freeze and crack sprinkler heads and lines. Turning the water off and draining the valves will help prevent damage to your yard’s irrigation system.
Home Maintenance Tips for Winter
More Helpful Information is available throughout the Maintenance section of your Nilson Homes Homeowners Manual. Become familiar with this to help protect you, your home, and your investment.