Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

Before you know it the leaves will start to float down from the trees, and the days will start to get a little shorter.  As the summer days turn into autumn, take some time to prepare a list to get your home ready for the colder months ahead.  This article is a helpful guide of fall home maintenance tips for your home.  To save time, money, and the hassle—it is a good idea to hire a professional to do the work, so you do not miss an important detail to secure your home for autumn and winter.

Clean & Inspect Gutters

Gutters should be inspected and cleaned a couple of times a year, particularly if your house is surrounded by trees.  Make sure you have your downspouts cleared as well, so water can flow away from your home.  Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and settle near your foundation, which can cause major issues and even damage your foundation.  As old man winter creeps into town, make sure gutters and downspouts are functioning properly, so ice dams don’t form and damage your home.  Be sure the downspouts are clean and flowing away from your walkways and driveways, so the frequently traveled areas do not become icy and hazardous.

If you have wooden gutters, be sure to have them cleaned and oiled to prevent wood rot.  Wooden gutters should be oiled or painted with a sealer at a minimum of every other year, but should be treated every year.  Another important factor with wooden gutters is that the gutter should maintain the seal on the corners and the gooseneck.  M. Annis can remove the dirty zebra stripes that rear their ugly head on the exterior of your gutters.

Landscape & Yard Maintenance

During the summer months, your lawn may need watering in the morning and evening.  But as the seasons change, it is time to taper off the continuous watering.  In the fall, take some time and aerate your lawn or hire a professional to do it for you.  This is a good time to fertilize your lawn to strengthen grass roots and spread grass seed on those unattractive patches. 

If you have a sprinkler system, contact a local sprinkler company to blow out your lines and prepare your sprinkler system for the winter.  Be sure to disconnect your garden hose and drain the water from pipes that lead to outdoor faucets.  Take a look around your yard at the trees to see if there are any potential dangerous branches and have them removed by your landscaper before they become a problem.  The last thing you want is a broken branch to ruin your deck or roof.

Windows & Doors

Inspect your windows and doors for drafts and leaks that may cause loss of heat.  If you notice cold air trickling in through the windows, consider purchasing a window insulation kit from your local hardware store.  One other option is to hire a professional to come in and caulk drafty windows and doors.  Foam sealant is effective for larger gaps around doors, windows, baseboards, and other places you notice leaking air.  A more expensive option is to add storm windows over single-pane windows or replace windows with more energy efficient double-pane windows.

If you feel air leaking in through your doors, you should replace the weather stripping.  Inspect door bottoms and thresholds for air leaking.  If needed, replace the door bottoms and thresholds with flexible or rigid sealing gaskets, such as: felt, reinforced silicone, “frost-brake” threshold, fin seal, bulb threshold, fin seal, and interlocking metal channels.  This is where a professional can help save you time and possibly money in the long run by installing what is best for your home.  Click here for tips on sealing air leaks.

Check The Heating System

Take a moment to examine your vents and heating ducts around the house—clean the dust and debris as well as to ensure there is nothing blocking the air flow.  After cleaning the dust off your vents, inspect your heating system and change your air filter.  During the winter months, you may want to change your air filters every month.  An HVAC contractor may be worth the time and money, so you can get your heating system inspected and tuned up and have piece of mind going into the winter months.  The HVAC technician will also be able to detect if there is harmful levels of carbon monoxide being emitted from your heating system.

Fireplace & Chimney Checkup

If you haven’t had your fireplace and chimney inspected, it is time to have a professional come in and sweep the chimney.  The last thing you want is to start your first fire of the fall or winter and encounter smoke invading your living room.  Chimney Safety Institute of America recommends having a chimney sweep every year.

Check Fire Safety & Smoke Detector

Before you crank up your furnace, take a moment to check your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety systems in your house are functioning properly.  If you do not have a fire safety plan, now is the time to create a plan for your family.  Click here for fire prevention resources and a guide to create your fire evacuation plan.

Plan Now

Before the leaves change, create a plan and call an industry professional to help prepare your home for the winter.  As homes age they react to changes in the seasons, so it is essential to perform routine maintenance to your home.  Be sure to have an industry professional inspect your roof, steps and handrails to ensure they are functioning properly.  By hiring a professional you can elude increased energy costs and damage to your home.  Feel free to call us to help you create a home maintenance plan.


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