Fall is the perfect time of the year to take stock of the condition of our homes. We all have busy schedules and keeping up with day-to-day home maintenance is difficult. However, a little attention to our homes now will help ensure little maintenance issues don’t become huge problems.
Here is a list of 10 home maintenance items to focus on this Fall:
- Check your furnace and filters- Now is a good time to have your furnace checked to make sure it is ready for cold weather. Hire a professional for a full maintenance check, which may include a furnace inspection, duct cleaning and an airflow evaluation. Also, make sure those dirty furnace air filters get replaced.
- Check your gutters and downspouts- Even if you don’t have trees, leaves, pine needles and other debris can clog gutters in the fall. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams which can lead to water damage. And don’t forget to clean the leaves away from the basement outdoor area drain. DIY is possible, but if you don’t feel safe on a ladder, hire a professional. Call me for a recommendation of who to use.
- Check window & door seals- There is nothing worse than feeling a draft on a blustery winter day. If you see gaps between exterior windows or door frames, you may need to re-caulk them or install new weatherstripping. Check that storm windows are secure. Hiring a handyman for a few hours and save you lots on your winter heating bills.
- Ready your roof- Remove branches and other debris that has collected on the roof. If you see missing or damaged shingles, replace them now before winter. The rule of thumb is a handyman can repair a few shingles and get a roofer for larger sections. Don’t overlook the skylight. They have seals which can crack from age and start leaking.
- Sweep that chimney- Cleaning your chimney before winter ensures the flue isn’t blocked, soot hasn’t accumulated, and the brick-and-mortar joints aren’t leaking water or fumes. Creosote buildup can cause a chimney fire. Hire a chimney sweep to help get you ready for those cold evenings cuddled near a warm fire.
- Get the yard ready for winter- Now is the time to do a fall yard cleanup. We all know fall is the season for raking up the leaves. It is also a good time to prune back trees and shrubs while they go dormant in the cold weather.
- Drain exterior water- Water left in pipes and garden hoses can freeze, causing them to burst. Disconnect, drain, and store hoses. Make sure you turn off and drain the outside water bibs (spickets).
- Reverse those ceiling fans- After turning on the heat, reverse the switch on your ceiling fan at low speed so the blades turn clockwise. This creates an updraft to push down warm air near the ceiling, according to Energy Star. It’s especially helpful for rooms with high ceilings.
- Shine some light on your solar panels- If you have elevated solar panels on your home or garage roof, clear branches and other vegetation from underneath that can block water or harbor squirrels and raccoons. You may want to clean the panels to improve their efficiency. Consider hiring a professional because the panels are heavy.
- Check smoke and carbon monoxide detectors- The laws in the DMV regarding smoke detectors changed a few years back. The local jurisdictions now require smoke detectors with 10-year life batteries. The element inside a smoke detector which detects the smoke is only good for 10-years. Replace these older smoke detectors to keep your family safe.