Fall is upon us! Before the weather gets too bad here are some home maintenance tips that will keep your home running well all winter long.
Check the foundation for cracks and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding or where pipes and wires enter the house. Another area to check is around the windows and door frames as this is where most heat escapes. Openings in the structure allow water to get in and freeze and result in cracks and mold build up but good news –caulking and sealing is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs you can undertake. A careful check of the outside structure combined with inexpensive maintenance can save you money in the long run.
Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Prior to storing, clean and repair the screens by spraying them with a protective coating and keeping them in a dry area of the basement or garage.
Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. If left unprotected, the siding itself will deteriorate leading to expensive repairs down the road.
Inspect the roof for missing and loose shingles. Changing temperatures and humidity along with ice, rain, snow and wind can damage your roof which then leads to water damage and could cause deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall and expose electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems. Dealing with minor repairs now is far better than being confr0nted with major repairs during a blizzard.
Once the leaves have fallen clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them out with water, inspect the joints and tighten the brackets where necessary. Clogged gutters lead to ice dams which can cause leakage and damage the gutter system. Replace old or damaged eavestorughes with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
Examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary.
Inspect the garage door and apply Weather-stripping making sure the seal between the garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.
Inspect the driveway for cracks. Clean and repair any damage with driveway filler before coating with a commercial sealer.
Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs. Move your hand around the frame checking for air leaks from windows and doors. Apply weather stripping and caulking to these areas.
Have the heating system properly serviced by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and have fewer problems if properly serviced.
Get your woodstove and fireplace in working order. Examine your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket checking for a tight seal. Clean and inspect the glass door for cracks and have the chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep. Burning creosote—a combination of wood tar, organic vapors and moisture build up and clog the chimney increasing the risk of a chimney fire.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
Test and change the batteries in the smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and ensure extra batteries are on hand.
Check basement windows for drafts, loose frames or cracked panes.
Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap with an approved tarp or plastic cover to prevent rusting.
Clean humidifiers regularly during the season as bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture dispersing into the room.
YARD AND GARDEN
Organize the garage. Clean and store summer garden tools.
Rake leaves from lawn, reseed patchy areas, and plant spring flowering bulbs. If deer or other varmints are a problem, start pest-proofing by covering plants with netting and chicken wire.
Prepare yard equipment for storage. Drain fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws.
Ensure all the snow removal equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. No sense leaving the shovel in the shed if you need a shovel to clear a path to the shed!
Drain hoses and store them. Shut off outdoor water valves. Any water left over in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand breaking the pipes.
Fertilize the lawn with a high phosphorous mix to ensure healthy grass in the spring.
PORCH AND DECK
Check supports, stairs and railings on porches and decks. Make sure the handrails can support someone slipping on snow or ice.
Clean porch and deck furniture and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area.
Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.
Anything else I should add to this list before the mercury drops? Email me!