It’s hard to believe that summer is almost over. Keep your home warm and running efficiently with our fall home maintenance checklist. It’s time to get your home ready for winter.
Most of the tasks listed below are well with-in the average home owners ability. But if you decide on hiring a professional to take care of them, it’s worth the expense. You will save time, money and perhaps even your life.
Fall Home Maintenance Check-List
- Roof Inspection
- Doors & Windows
- Exterior Hoses
- Driveways & Walkways
- Air-Conditioning Maintenance
- Outdoor Furniture
- Furnace Maintenance
- Wood Burning Stove Maintenance
- Smoke Detectors
- General Clean Up
Make sure the roof is in good condition. Check for loose or missing tiles and for any cracks in the chimney. If you’ve been putting off the task replacing the shingles over the last few years, well now’s a good time to get them replaced. Hire a professional roofing contractor to patch up any gaps and replace shingles.
Implementing a chimney maintenance plan is always critical for insuring the safety of your home and family. The function of a chimney is to carry dangerous fireplace, wood, oil or furnace and boiler gases safely out of your home. Chimney fires are entirely preventable with proper care and cleaning. Inspect the exterior of the chimney for sings of damage. Have the flue inspected and cleaned by a certified chimney sweep.
Check the gutter systems outside your home. Be mindful for any broken or leaking gutters, and repair them as soon possible. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in your basement. Clear out any leaves and other debris that tend to collect over the summer and fall seasons and have them covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning. Doing this will reduce the risks of leaks and blockages during freezing weather.
Doors and Windows
Fall is a great time to get out and check the caulking around doors and windows. Proper caulking keeps moisture away and helps with drafts issues. Again caulking makes your home more efficient and helps prevent mold.
Drafts through your front doors don’t seem as much of a problem in the summer months, but the truth is it can be. If your weather strip allows a ¼” opening around a door, it’s like a hole in the wall that is 4” x 4”. Drafts don’t seem as noticeable the summer months because the air flows from cold to warm which is why it’s more noticeable in the winter season.
On that note, the best course of action would be replace the weather strip on your door. You can do this by going to your local building supply company and purchase a weather strip that is similar to what is currently on your door. If you don’t see one that is similar just buy a “universal” type and install it on the door frame. Every little bit of money saved on the Electricity Bill is a good thing and you may be pleasantly surprised next summer when you notice a difference of savings in your electricity bill since your doors will seal better!
Commonly Known as hose bibs or sill-cocks, the exterior faucet needs to have its water supply turned off inside the house, and you also need to drain water from it by opening up the exterior faucet. You may also want to consider an insulated cover for the hose bib. Your garden hoses should be disconnected from the sill cocks or outside faucets and drained if stored outside.
Driveway & Walkways
Damaged walkways, drives, and steps are a hazard year round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is also critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches.
Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Check for disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths.
Most small jobs are well within the ability of a do-it-your self, but save major repairs for experienced hands.
Central Air conditioning systems : Take a hose with the spray head set to “jet” or the highest pressure you have and clean the fan blades and condensing coils of clear of debris and dirt. Left unprotected the condensing unit can be damaged by wet leaves and debris that contribute to rusting and freezing of internal components. Although these units are designed for outdoor use, covering them with a breathable waterproof cover made for that purpose will extending the life and efficient performance of the unit.
Any outdoor furniture and garden accessories, lighting, should be stored in a dry place such a shed or a garage. If you lack storage space and have the room, you may even use space in your basement to protect your items from the winter elements.
Fall is a perfect time to clean or replace your furnace filter. Reusable filters can be washed down and re installed. Disposable filters should be replaced with a new one. Dirty filters lower your HVAC system’s efficiency so it’s a good idea to change them accordingly.
Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.
Here are signs that you should have an inspection performed sooner:
Noisy Belts– Unusual screeches or whines may be a signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.
Poor Performance– A heating system that doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did could be a sign of various problems. Your heating ducts might be blocked, the burners might be misadjusted, or the blower motor could be on its last legs. One check you should be sure to conduct: Make sure your furnace filter is clean.
Erratic Behaviour– This could be caused by a faulty thermostat or a misadjusted furnace.
Wood Burning Stove Maintenance
Wood burning stoves are a great way to add atmosphere and warmth to your home. But regular inspections are needed to ensure that these devices don’t become a safety hazard. Here’s how to check them.
Cracks in stovepipes attached to wood stoves can release toxic fumes into your home. Throughout the heating season, you should check for corrosion, holes, or loose joints. Clean the stovepipe, and then look for signs of deterioration or looseness. Replace stovepipe if necessary.
Test your smoke alarm monthly and clean it every 6 months. Mark it on your calendar so that you don’t forget. Things to remember when testing your smoke alarm:
- Ensure that power is being transmitted to the alarm and that it will activate in the presence of smoke.
- Test your smoke alarm by pressing the test button.
- Even alarms with a pilot light that indicate power is being transmitted, should be tested regularly.
- Battery-operated smoke alarms will warn you when batteries need replacing. Despite this, make it a habit to change the batteries yearly.
- When you’ve been away from home for a few days, check your alarm on your return to ensure it is working properly.
- Remember, your smoke alarm can’t protect you if the batteries have been removed or a plug has been disconnected.
- The lifespan of a typical smoke alarm is about 10 years, but some models last as little as 5 years.
- To clean the alarm, open the cover and gently vacuum the interior of it. Frequently, the alarm will sound while the unit is being cleaned.
General Clean Up
Rid your home of accumulations of old newspapers and leftover hazardous household chemicals. (Check with your local Municipal Hazardous Waste or Special Waste Agency about the proper way to discard dangerous chemicals.) Store flammable materials and poisons in approved, clearly labeled containers. Keep a clear space around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances.
Have a question about your home improvement? Leave a comment below!
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