Handy Gal’s Guide to Home Maintenance: Winter Readiness

AS WE MOVE INTO THE WINTER MONTHS, IT IS ESSENTIAL TO ENSURE YOUR HOME IS IN PEAK FORM TO HANDLE THE COLD WEATHER. In addition to having your furnace tuned up and removing the screens from your windows, there are several other chores you may want tackle before the full brunt of winter is upon us.  

Snowblowers need a tune-up before the beginning of the winter. If you didn’t have your snowblower tuned up this past spring, call today to schedule your tune-up. You may wait several weeks for an appointment, so don’t delay this critical step. If you prefer, you can tune up your snowblower yourself. Simply check and replace oil, ensure the fuel filter is clean, add fuel stabilizer to fresh fuel, check tires, lubricate bearings and inspect parts for wear.

Either way, you don’t want to discover you have problems with your snowblower after a foot of snow is dumped on us overnight. Your snowblower needs to perform on-demand, and a well-running snowblower is something you’ll be glad you have after each significant snowfall.


All household appliances need to be maintained to keep them working their best. Usually, the first time you notice a problem with an appliance is when there is a significant issue. For example, your first clue that there is a problem with your dishwasher may be when you discover a puddle of water on the floor. To be more proactive, you will want to keep an eye on the gaskets, be sure to listen for unusual noises and plan to have your dishwasher maintained on an annual basis.

Other major appliances that need annual maintenance are your washer and dryer. In addition to making sure the dryer is running properly, the dryer’s vents should be cleaned professionally each year, as built-up lint can be a fire hazard. 

While you are having your dryer vents cleaned, be sure to have all the airducts in your home cleaned. Every time your furnace runs, it pushes the air through the ductwork and over any dust and debris that has built up in your ducts. By having your airducts cleaned, the air quality in your home will be improved, which is very important during the heating season when the windows are closed for several months. You may even want to have your ductwork sanitized at the same time.

Winter is a great time to start thinking about updating your home or maybe tackling a remodeling project. Because many of these projects require a large sum of money, consider financing the project with a home equity line of credit (HELOC). A HELOC can allow you to complete a project from start to finish without using a pay-as-you-go approach to home updates. 

Kris Heichel, branch manager of Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation says, “Home equity lines of credit are a great option for the homeowner without having to refinance your first mortgage. You have the flexibility to draw from the line of credit, pay the balance down and re-draw again.”  Heichel also suggests, “A renovation loan for a home that doesn’t have equity. Typically, these are first mortgages and can be done with either refinance or purchase. These loans use the ‘after-improved value’ and are great for homebuyers/owners with little down payment or equity. You can do renovations to your new or existing home without having to wait and save money with these products. Add value and make your home exactly the way you want it!”

Many home maintenance tasks are seasonal and need to be done annually. Breaking down the bigger chores into smaller, more manageable tasks can help you to feel less overwhelmed. Creating a home maintenance schedule and following it will help you stay on track with keeping your home well-maintained. And a home that has been well cared for over the years will retain its resale value.

Cindy Mennenga is a freelance writer and along with her husband, John, owns Conspectus Home Inspection Services, LLC based in Rochester. Visit conspectusmn.com for more information.