From shoveling snow to keeping your house warm, here are some winter home maintenance hacks that will make surviving winter a whole lot easier.
Treat snow shoveling like intense exercise
According to Nationwide Children’s, about 100 people die and 11,500 are injured shoveling snow every year.
It’s easy to forget how intense shoveling snow is, especially when it’s wet, heavy snow. So, before you grab your shovel, consider doing the following:
- Warm up and stretch. Get your blood pumping and muscles properly stretched out. This can reduce the likelihood of throwing out your back or straining your arms and legs.
- Wear the right shoes/boots. Slipping and falling is common when shoveling. Don’t just throw on a pair of sneakers. Wear boots or shoes with strong traction.
- Put on warm clothes. You’d think this is a given, but it’s not. It’s easy to break a sweat shoveling. Not wearing clothes that are warm enough or shedding those clothes as you sweat can expose you to hypothermia. If you feel like you’re overheating, stop and take a break indoors.
Use these tips while you’re shoveling to reduce the likelihood of injury or death. Even if you have a snow blower, these tips can still help you avoid injuries.
- Take breaks. You don’t get a prize for finishing quickly. When you feel tired or sore, take a break. Shoveling in batches is easier than doing it all at once.
- Watch your surroundings. It can be harder to hear while you’re shoveling, and it’s easy for people (especially children) to run into the path of your shovel. Keep an eye on your surroundings so you don’t accidently smack someone in the head or face.
- Push the snow instead of lifting. Most exertion comes from lifting heavy snow. If possible, push it to the side instead of lifting.
- If you must lift, use your legs. Squat down with your butt out. Keep your knees parallel with your ankles as much as possible. Don’t let your knees float beyond your toes. Use your legs and quads as leverage.
- Stop immediately if you have chest pains or shortness of breath. Don’t tough it out. The only prize you get toughing this out is a trip to the hospital.
Use a leaf blower to clear snow from your driveway and sidewalks
If you’ve never used a leaf blower to clear snow, this hack could change your life. As long as the snow isn’t too wet and heavy, this is an incredibly easy way to keep your driveway and sidewalks snow-free.
Be cautious if you have an electric leaf blower though. You don’t want to get snow anywhere near your plugs or outlets.
When you do shovel, coat your shovel with cooking oil
For times when you have to shovel (or if you don’t own a leaf or snow blower), cooking oil can make the chore a bit easier. Simply spray a light coat of cooking oil (any kind will do) onto the shovel. The snow will slide off easily and you’ll get done faster.
Make sure your HVAC system is running efficiently
There are several easy steps you can take to make sure you’re not wasting heat.
- Check and replace your air filters every 1–3 months, depending on the filter you use
- Make sure your vents are clear of clothes, shoes, and pets. A cat toasting itself on a vent may be cute, but it can prevent heat from circulating
- Check for open windows and doors, along with drafty areas. If your home is losing heat, it can force your furnace to work harder than it needs to, which can lead to breakdowns
Additionally, you can purchase a Home Warranty Service Agreement with HVAC system coverage from 2-10 Home Buyers Warranty (2-10 HBW). This coverage can protect your budget if your furnace were to break down from routine wear and tear.
Cover your water heater with an insulating layer
You can purchase water heater blankets at the hardware store, which will help your heater retain heat and lower your energy bills. This can be particularly useful if your water heater is located in a colder part of your home, like a basement or utility room.
2-10 HBW offers the most comprehensive home warranty coverage for homeowners. Let us help you protect your home.