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12 Things Homeowners Neglect Every Winter

There are some things you do around the house regularly to help with upkeep and safety—check smoke alarms, wash the windows and repair the chipped tile in the bathroom. But what are you forgetting? Here are 12 things homeowners neglect every winter that they may regret come spring.

Check for Ice Dams

If your home lacks good insulation and venting, there's a good chance it may be prone to ice dams. Get outside regularly during the winter and check around the house for signs of icicles and large chunks of ice near the edge of your roof. Water melting off the roof pools behind the ice and then seeps back up under the shingles. And sometimes water can work its way 5 or even 10 ft. back up under the shingles. Eventually it drips through the roof into the soffits (the outside overhangs), walls, and worst of all, onto your ceilings. Photo: Suzanne Tucker/Shutterstock

Change Furnace Filter

Homeowners should change their furnace filters once a month, according to experts. And changing the filter regularly not only helps extend the life of your furnace, it helps with air quality in your home and keeps energy costs down. Photo: Serenethos/Shutterstock

Test the Sump Pump

In the spring when the snow melts and the rain saturates the ground, your home's sump pump may be put to the test to keep water at bay. So test it during the winter to ensure you're ready for spring's big thaw. Photo: Jason Kolenda/Shutterstock

Seal Driveway Cracks

If your driveway has cracks that aren't re-sealed before the snow comes, the cold can cause water to freeze and expand in the cracks. And this will leave you with even more damage come spring.

Photo: Steve Collender/Shutterstock

Clean the Gutters

There's a reason gutter cleaning and maintenance comes up in just about every homeowners maintenance checklist. A debris-clogged gutter with added snow and ice can cause damage to your home, including problems with roof leaks and even foundation problems. And if you cleaned out your gutters in the fall and more leaves got trapped there, you'll need to clean out the gutters again.

Photo: John E. Heintz Jr./Shutterstock

Remove Hoses from outdoor Faucets

It may not seem like a big deal in the fall, but neglecting to unhook garden hoses from outdoor faucets over the winter can result in cracked water pipes. When you use the hose, water is still trapped inside. So be sure to detach the hose, drain the water and close the faucet's shut-off valve. Photo: txking/Shutterstock

Check Insulation

Proper insulation will keep your home warm in the winter, cool in the summer and cut down on energy costs. It's also a place mice and bats like to call home. And when the weather turns cold, do a check of your insulation—especially in your attic—to ensure there are no unwanted guests. Photo: David Papazian/Shutterstock

Clear Snow Away from Vents

During the winter months, regularly check your outdoor vents—such as your furnace and dryer vents—to make sure they are clear of snow and ice. Blocked vents can cause carbon monoxide to build up. Photo: LesPalenik/Shutterstock

Fix Air Leaks from Windows and Doors

Neglecting to remedy any air leaks from windows and doors can lead to condensation, which can lead to mold. And make sure all windows and doors have proper weather stripping before the cold and snow arrives. In addition to preventing condensation and mold, it will help keep your energy bills down.

Photo: Ellica/Shutterstock

Clean the Chimney

If you use your fireplace, be sure to have it and the chimney cleaned before that first fire of the season. And this will ensure there's no buildup of harmful creosote or any debris such as leaves or bird nests, which can become a fire hazard. Photo: Couperfield/Shutterstock

Discourage Pests

Homeowners should do regular exterior checks for any holes in the home's foundation, along with any holes in the wood around door frames and windows. And not only can these holes allow water to seep in, but they can be an entry points for pests such as mice, rats and squirrels in search of a warm home.

Photo: Erni/Shutterstock

Trim Branches

Heavy snow, ice and strong winds can wreak havoc on tree branches. So be sure to remove dead or damaged trees and limbs to protect your home over the harsh winter months.

Photo: ueuaphoto/Shutterstock