Top 10 Tips for Home Maintenance This Fall

 

We’ve noticed it, and we’re sure you’ve noticed it too… Fall is finally here! It’s time for building bonfires, decorating for trick-or-treaters, and before long it’ll be time for cooking up delicious Thanksgiving dinners. We love the trimmings of fall just as much as our clients, but by nature and by profession we’re also incredibly conscious of what lies ahead for us all: winter.

Here are some tips on how to prepare your home for the coming winter months while still enjoying fall, from our family to yours.

 

DIY-Friendly

  1. The gutters. Every year your gutters divert gallons upon gallons of water away from your home—if they’re clean and clear, that is. Clogged gutters can cause water damage to your home’s exterior (and water in your basement, if you have one). Plus, clogged gutters are more prone to rust and corrosion. This is a relatively easy DIY fix for anyone without a fear of heights with access to a ladder, gloves, and something to help remove the debris.
  2. Your dryer vents should be cleaned regularly to prevent a possible fire hazard. You’ll definitely want to do this messy outdoor task before Jack Frost comes a-knockin.
  3. Your windows and doors. To prevent your home from losing expensive heat and gaining cold drafts once winter hits, check the caulking and weather stripping on your windows and doors. Touch up caulking and replace weather stripping where needed, and be sure to clean the surfaces to insure a proper seal. *This is a fix you don’t want to skip. According to the Department of Energy, gaps and caulking and weather stripping, while easily fixable, can account for 10% of your heating bill if left unattended.
  4. Your ceiling fans. Keeping your ceiling fans turning counter-clockwise keeps things cool in the summer, but you’ll want to start running them clockwise once winter hits to keep things toasty.
  5. Your outdoor faucets. Winter-proof your outdoor faucets and their corresponding water lines by shutting off the lines and draining them. If you don’t have shut-off valves for your outdoor faucets, you inexpensive covers from your local home improvement store will do the trick.
  6. Trees or shrubbery near your home should be trimmed before winter ice and snow can weigh down unruly branches and send them careening into your house or nearby power lines. Depending on the size of the tree you may be able to do the trimming yourself, but don’t hesitate to call a professional if it seems like more than you can handle.
  7. Driveways, walkways, and steps near your home can be year-round hazards, but their potential for danger is compounded in the winter. Make note of any cracks more than 1/8 wide, uneven sections, loose railings or steps, and you can easily fix the issues accordingly unless a major repair is needed.

You might want to call a professional

  1. Your fireplace and chimney should be inspected annually—twice yearly if you regularly burn soft woods like pine or cedar. Not only are neglected fireplaces potential fire hazards, they’re also potentially damaging to yours and your family’s health. This is definitely a job best left to a professional chimney sweeper, and a reputable one at that. Here are some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America on finding the RIGHT sweeper for the job.
  2. Your roof. Autumn storms and winter snows have an uncanny way of turning minor issues with your roof into very expensive problems. Do a preliminary DIY inspection—look for damaged or curling shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents—and if you find something worrisome, call a professional. Though roof fixes aren’t always cheap fixes, they’re crucial and should be done properly.
  3. Your heating system and filter. It’s easy enough to clean and replace your heating system and filters on your own (just follow your system’s instructions), but it’s smart to have your entire heater/water heater inspected and serviced annually to avoid inefficiency and possible carbon monoxide poisoning. Local utility companies will often provide this service for free!

We hope you’ll find these tips useful in the coming months. If you’d like to take your winter preparedness and home maintenance a step further and have an exceptional, professional home inspection, give us a call at (270) 933-7242. Because when you’re ready, so are we.