Get Ready for the Cooler Weather!
Seasonal home maintenance is something home owners know needs to be done, especially for cooler weather. Just by doing these easy little things can prevent potential issues.
What are the best ways to prepare your home for the fall? Here are our top 6 fall home maintenance tips!
1. Furnace Maintenance
Your furnace should be serviced at least once a year. It’s best to do it in the early fall, before you need to turn it on for the winter. This ensures that it’s operating properly and efficiently, and that there are no dangerous issues that have gone unnoticed, like carbon monoxide leaks due to a cracked heat exchanger.
There are a few different things you can do to prepare your furnace for the fall and winter, like:
- Change the air filter – Your air filter is easy to access, and should be changed about every 3-6 months. If you have pets or live in a dusty climate, you may want to replace it even more regularly than this.
- Clean the combustion chamber – Using a wire brush and a shop vacuum, you can remove carbon buildup from the combustion chamber, which prevents corrosion and allows for a longer furnace life, and better energy efficiency.
- Inspect the flue – The flue is the pipe that sends exhaust outside of your home. You can inspect it and check for leaks, sealing any small leaks with foil tape. Large leaks and corrosion may require you to replace the flue.
- Clean floor vents – You should clean your floor registers with a vacuum every year, to make sure that they are not blocked, and that debris does not fall into the furnace.
These are easy enough for just about anyone to do, and performing these steps on your own can save you some money.
2. Weatherproof Your Windows and Doors
Weatherproofing also can help prevent damage to the subfloor below your exterior doors. If moisture and dampness get inside, it can eat away at the floor material, and cause issues like mold and mildew.
To weatherproof your doors and windows, simply examine the weather stripping and gaps in your doors and windows, in order to determine if they may cause leaks or a draft, and then replacing weather stripping and other elements, as necessary.
First, inspect the door or window. If you can see light coming through, chances are its drafty – and needs to be weatherproofed. Then, you can use caulk to fill up minor gaps, or use backer rod to fill in larger gaps. You also may want to replace damaged weather stripping on the interior or exterior of the door or window.
A properly weatherproofed door won’t need to be redone for several years, but if you live in a harsh climate, you may need to replace weatherproofing more often.It’s best to simply examine your doors every year. If you notice gaps or drafts, you may need to weatherproof your doors again. If you don’t notice any issues, you’re good to go for another year!
3. Clean Your Gutters
Your home needs regular maintenance to keep it safe and in good condition, and gutter cleaning is one of the most important steps. Clogged gutters can damage your roof and cause leaks, cause ice damming in the winter, or even lead to foundation issues.
So grab a ladder, a plastic bag or a bucket, and get up to the roof! Make sure to stay safe on the ladder, and place it safely and securely. You may be able to walk on your roof if it’s not steeply pitched, but it’s usually better to stay on the ladder.Grab all the debris from your gutters and dump it in your bucket or bag, and flush the gutter by using a hose. Repeat until all your gutters are clean. Once you get used to it, it should only take you an hour or so.
4. Flush Your Hot Water Heater
Flushing your water heater can help remove sediment from the tank, and prolong its lifespan, and fall is the perfect time to do this.If you’re not handy and don’t like working with tools, you may want to hire a professional to do this. It’s not expensive, and the cost of a maintenance call is small, compared to the benefits of a longer water heater lifespan.
5. Shut Off Exterior Faucets
If you don’t shut off the water supply to your exterior faucets from inside your house, the pipes leading to it may crack and freeze, which can cause leaks, and cost a lot of money to replace.
If you have a “frost-free” faucet, you may not need to do this. A good rule of thumb is that, if a faucet knob is perpendicular to the house, it’s frost-free, and uses what’s called a “frost-free sillcock” to prevent freezing – but make sure you double-check.
If your sillcock is not frost-free, there should be a shut-off valve for the exterior faucet, somewhere on the pipe that leads to it. Locate this, and shut it off. Then, open up the outside faucet, and then open the adjacent bleeder valve to let any remaining water drain out.
6. Winterize A/C System
A/C systems can be damaged by the ice, snow, debris, and other weather-related conditions of the fall and winter. That means you should winterize it before it gets too cold outside.
Winterizing your A/C is simple to do. Simply begin by removing grass, leaves, twigs, and other debris from the unit itself. Then, use a garden hose to rinse it, and remove more debris, dirt, and dust.
Allow the unit to dry, then cut off the electrical power at the electrical circuit, to keep it from switching on if a day is unexpectedly warm. After this, install rubber pipe insulation around the pipes to protect against freezing.
Then, cover your unit with an A/C cover, to keep ice, snow, and other debris from building up on it – and to keep hibernating critters away from the A/C.
Get Ready For The Cold Weather!
Regular home maintenance is key for simplifying home ownership, and avoiding major repairs and unexpected costs. So follow these tips, and keep your home safe this fall and winter.