Many think of Spring as the season to tackle the home maintenance checklist – and it is… unless you have cold winters. Since Fall weather introduces colder climates and more moisture, some of the items are best performed at the end of Summer. Below are some tips to help you prepare your home for the coming seasons this year.
Prevent Frozen Pipes
Water is one of the most expensive problems in homes – frozen water at best! The average claim is estimated $18,000 for one home after a frozen pipe incident! To protect yourself, and your investment, insulate water pipes in areas exposed to freezing temperatures. Use pipe sleeves, heat tape, or a insulation approved material.
Replace Air Filters
This not only prolongs the life of your system but allows air to flow correctly as the air duct pressure is restored. Plus it keeps your energy bill lower – win win! On every season’s checklist – but very necessary. Keep your HVAC unit from running too hard by replacing the dirty/clogged air filters.
Test your Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors
Carbon monoxide poisoning is a larger problem than people realize – creating hundreds of incidents every year. Test your detector to make sure it still works! As the detectors age, they can eventually just STOP WORKING – which is the problem we want to help you prevent. Some units chirp when the battery is low but if it stops working, it may not chirp either! If your units are 10 years or older, it’s time to replace them.
Service & Clean Chimney
A dirty chimney flue can cause fires inside the chimney from the old soot. Sounds strange and when this happens, smoke can flood both ends of the chimney – in and out of the house. A clean chimney means the fire and smoke will behave as it’s supposed to – providing you comfort on-demand! Servicing the chimney also ensures the flap is operational and that the chimney is clear of obstruction for safe burning! For bonus points, install a fire extinguisher in your kitchen or nearby for safe keeping!
Clear Dryer Exhaust Duct
This actually is one of the causes for house fires as clogged debris can be flammable. Much like your air filters, this also relates to keeping energy low, maintaining the life expectancy of your system, and ensuring air flows properly. Yet the difference is your dryer exhaust duct collects lint and debris over time. As with anything else, the right professionals will have the right tools for the job!
Check Gutters and Downspouts
Water is one of the fastest and most expensive ways to damage your property. Gutters and downspouts divert water away from settling against your home – when not done properly unwanted water can intrude and/or affect items like your foundation, patio, deck, windows, siding, and more! Check them for damage and ensure they are cleared of debris. For bonus points, install gutter guards to prevent those fall leaves from collecting inside the gutters!
Clean Windows and Repair Air Gaps
Make sure your windows don’t have any air gaps where warm air can escape during the fall/winter. Cleaning your windows is a great way to inspect them! Caulking can be placed on the suspected area to seal any gaps – just be sure it doesn’t interfere with the operation of the window. When in doubt, we can connect you to a window specialist who can make an observation on your behalf.
Protect your Deck
Prevent your deck boards from curling, keep hazardous nails from rising, and ensure the stability of your deck. First you’ll need to remove everything from your deck, then clean your deck from all debris, hammer in any protruding nails, and lastly – apply a sealant stain. This will help prevent boards from warping, loose joints, and loose hardware as it seals the wood from the weather.
Seal your Doors
Who wants higher energy/electric bills? You don’t, which is why you’ll check the doors in your house. After you opening them, inspect the seals/weather stripping inside the doorjamb of every exterior door. The weather seals can disintegrate over time, leaving gaps that can expose you and your family to the coming cold air and outside insects.
Clean your Garbage Bins
Animals and rodents have a strong sense of smell, and colder weather can create desperation among certain species. Mice, particularly, have a heightened sense of smell and a wide, varied diet. Cleaning your outdoor bins and removing any temptations can ensure critters don’t set up camp nearby and cause problems in other areas of your home.
Chores in the Morning
With cooler weather approaching, knock out your honey-do list outside and in the attic during the morning with the brisk air. If you can help it, this helps avoid the hotter climate later in the day. This especially applies to the attic as hotter temperatures can make this area hazardous to work in during the summer heat.
Take Advantage of Slow in the Summer
Homeowners typically wait until the fall and winter to call these professionals for the items on this page. Take advantage of the summer slow-down times and you may get a better deal! If you need any recommendations for contractors, let us know!
Spin your Ceiling Fans
Set your ceiling fans to spin the other way – pushing the hot air up to the ceiling and to the rest of the room. This is also a good time to clean the fan blades – which can become dusty and unsanitary throughout the year.
Water Heater Flush
Nasty sediments and dirt builds up in the bottom of your water heater and must be flushed at least once a year. When the build up occurs, it actually prevents your water heater from storing as much hot water as it can. This also creates dirtier water to the house.
As the colder climate approaches, and while your down there flushing your water heater (if that’s where it is), go ahead and slide the vents shut. This helps keep out moisture and humidity while leveling the underside of the house to the preferred warmer temperature.
Pressure Wash Wash Wash
Pick one of the warmer days this month to tackle this job for bonus points. Now is a good time to power/pressure wash your house – especially if you have algae, moss, or mildew on your siding. If you use chemicals, make sure to protect your plants. AVOID pressure washing your roof – there is a special method to this and due to the hazardous job, it’s best handles by the pros. When pressure washing your porch, siding, sidewalk, driveway, patio, deck, windows, soffits, gutters, doors, shutters, sheds, and more – be careful with painted surfaces because the pressure can remove the paint.
Clean your HVAC Unit
The outside unit with the coils and heat pump inside (the big box with the fan) can get dirty, reducing efficiency. Likewise, this increases your cooling bill and decreases your comfort. All you need is a can of coil cleaner and a garden hose. You can pick up a can of air conditioner coil cleaner from any hardware store.
Turn up the Heat
Last, but not least – turn on your heat if you haven’t already and test its operation. Make sure that the HVAC unit is thoroughly, and professionally, inspected and serviced. Furnace filters should be changed and the heat should be checked to make sure it’s working properly. We have a great crew that we recommend, if you’d like us to send you their (or any other contractor’s) contact info – call or text us at 540-685-1010!