Four Easy-to-Avoid Winter Home Maintenance Problems

Being in the home services industry, we get called to homes for a wide variety of problems from heating and cooling issues to plumbing problems. Over the years, we’ve seen some common problems that could have been avoided with just a little preventive maintenance. Here are a few of the problems we see often in the wintertime. Hopefully, these reminders will keep you from having to make a service call.


Problem – Frozen Pipes

Prevention – Remove hoses from outside spigots

One of the most common problems when temperatures dip below freezing is frozen pipes. Occasionally, a home may have a pipe on an outside wall that is more exposed to the temperatures because it is in an unheated area of the home. Usually, insulating these pipes solves the problem. But the most common frozen pipe problem is caused when homeowners forget to unhook their hoses from outside spigots. The hose holds water in the pipe and when it freezes, it expands and causes the hose and many times the pipe to split. When it’s frozen, the water doesn’t flow so you may not notice a leak. But as soon as it thaws, you will have a mess on your hands. Don’t allow this to happen to you. If you’re not sure about your hoses, check them now before it’s too late.


Problem – Water Heater Shutdown

Prevention – Check Outside Vents

Occasionally, we a call from a frantic homeowner whose water heater has stopped working. Sometimes it’s a bad water heater, but many times it’s a much simpler solution – a bird or squirrel has taken up residence in the exhaust pipe. We’ve seen squirrels use them to store nuts and we’ve even encountered a bee hive built inside the vent. So check your vents every month or so to make sure they are clear of all debris and furry friends.


Problem – Furnace Shutdown

Prevention – Check outside Vents/Change Filter

We’ve also seen similar vent problems with furnace vents. Your furnace will shut down completely when the vent is blocked. But besides the vent being blocked, your furnace can also shut down when the filter is too dirty. Most homeowners are shocked that something so simple can cause their entire system to stop working. So make sure you change your filter every month and keep outside vents clear of snow and debris.


Problem – Smoke/Carbon Monoxide Poisoning

Prevention – Test and check batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors

This may not be a problem we see often, and it certainly doesn’t happen only in the winter, but fires and carbon monoxide poisoning have such serious consequences, we felt they were worth mentioning anyway. Smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors save countless lives. But if they aren’t working, they are of no help in emergency situations. Check your detectors every month to make sure they are working properly and have fresh batteries.


If you experience any of the aforementioned problems, check the most likely causes before calling us. It may save you the cost of a service call. But, of course, call us if you have any doubts or problems that can’t be solved simply. We’re here for you with our Home Comfort Experts 24-hour service seven days a week.


Ken Jewell

HCE Master Plumber

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