Buying your first home is quite an exciting time. You’ll have brand new experiences, learn new things, and create a collection of new memories. You may be experiencing your first winter as a new home owner, and along with that comes perhaps a pile of new tasks to maintain your home, protect your investment, and enjoy your first holiday season in your new home. But don't worry; we have some simple winter season tips to help get you started.
Removing Snow and Ice
Using only a shovel is sometimes not enough in colder regions that get more than their fair share of snow, like us. The best way to keep your driveway and walkways clear is to use a multi-step approach. Fortunately, the latest developments in snow blowers, de-icers and other new technology can make the job a bit easier.
Snow blowers work best for heavy, wet snow. A single-stage blower may be all you need. However, larger areas may require a two-stage blower. Another option is to see if your current lawn tractor has a blower attachment available for purchase. But you're not done yet! Even a thin layer of snow, if left untreated, will melt and refreeze once the temperature drops. Applying a treatment will help keep the surface clean and dry.
De-icers will melt the last bit of snow, while anti-icers will keep it from forming in the first place. Make sure you read the label before buying any products to make sure it's pet friendly, but also that it won’t corrode your new concrete. Certain types of products will begin to deteriorate your concrete, and this type of damage is not covered under warranty.
Outdoor Holiday Decorating
You may be tempted to show off your new home with a dazzling holiday display. However, it's important to make smart decisions and practice good safety measures when installing your decorations. Nothing would dampen your holiday spirit more than a leaky roof or an injury.
Nails and screws should never be used to secure decorations directly to the roof. This could eventually lead to leaks and could even damage the wood underneath. Instead, keep lights along the edges of the roof and be sure to use plastic clips that are readily available wherever decorations are sold.
Safety should be the number one priority when installing your holiday display. If you're not comfortable climbing ladders or don't have the proper equipment, you should consider limiting decorations to the sides of the house or even the yard. It's also a good idea to get help hanging or lifting heavier decorations. And remember not to overload your outlets.
Also, please ensure that if you are installing decorations on your property that require a stake in the ground that you aren’t doing it near any gas lines. These lines are typically pretty deep in the ground, so any standard stakes that are 12” or less should be fine, but if you have anything larger it would be ideal to have your gas lines marked out prior to your installation.
Increased Utility Bills
Your first utility bill once winter starts may be a shocker. Energy usage increases during winter due to higher furnace and HRV usage to heat the home, shorter days requiring lights to be on longer, and other related household functions. There are a few things you can do to save as much energy as possible.
Use LED lighting throughout your home. All Pacesetter homes include LED lighting throughout the home (starting in mid-2019), so we’ve got you covered. But you can ensure all of your home décor and lamps are using LED lighting to significantly reduce the energy usage of these items. Have a look around your home to see if you need to replace any bulbs.
Use a programmable or smartphone controllable thermostat. This allows you to control the temperature in your home and perhaps use less energy when you know you’ll be away from the home, such as when you’re at work. Simply lower the temperature when you leave, and program or use your smartphone to increase the temperature a short time before you expect to arrive at home.
Taking the time to review these winter season tips and learning how to care for your home in this colder season could save you a lot of headaches in the spring. Be sure to use the right tools and techniques to remove snow and ice from your driveways and walkways, save energy during the colder months, and to set up that fabulous holiday display.