Well, folks, it's that time of year again. The leaves are starting to change, pumpkin spice lattes are all the rage, and we're all gearing up for colder temps and changing weather. While enjoying the falling leaves and bonfires of October, it's a good idea for all of you home owners to complete your "Fall Home Maintenance Checklist" in preparation for Winter's arrival. The following list will get you started and help you to enjoy a worry-free Winter season in your home.
Get an HVAC tune-up
There is nothing worse than waking up on a bitter cold December morning to discover that your furnace went kaput in the middle of the night. HVAC providers tend to be busy during the very cold (and very hot) months, because the extreme temperatures put more strain on HVAC systems; as a result, you might be in for a long -- not to mention, cold! -- wait before anyone can get out to your house to repair your furnace. In order to avoid this unnecessary hassle and expense, we recommend that you hire a local and reputable HVAC service provider to do an annual maintenance check on your unit sometime in the Fall. He or she can do a thorough check of your furnace and ensure that you will be good to go when cold temperatures show up! This is also a great time to change your furnace filter and make sure to put a reminder (every 4 - 8 weeks) on your calendar or phone so that you don't forget to change it regularly when your furnace is running.
Check your roof for leaks and other issues
Winter months tend to bring lots of precipitation, so it's a good idea to check for missing or damaged shingles, problems with the flashing (such as rust spots), and signs of water damage or leaks on the ceiling of your home's upper floor. For a more
thorough check, you can hire a local roofing company to perform a maintenance check on your roof. Many issues, such as missing or cracked shingles, are an easy fix and can go a long way towards preventing more serious issues when it is raining or snowing in the Winter.
Clean out your gutters
Fall is the perfect time to do some gutter maintenance on your home. One caveat here is that you'll want to make sure to wait until all of the trees in your yard (and surrounding yards) are done shedding their leaves for the season. Clogged gutters can create problems in the Winter, leading to the creation of ice dams when there is precipitation and freezing temperatures. Ice dams can cause water to back up and run into your house, creating a major headache for you and untold damage to your home! After cleaning out your gutters, it's also a good idea to check all of your downspouts for cracks or other damage and to ensure that they're properly situated to direct all water out and away from your home's foundation.
Clean out your chimney
With the arrival of snow and colder temperatures, Winter provides the perfect opportunity for you to sit in front of a cozy fire with a cup of tea or hot chocolate. In order to ensure that your fireplace is ready to go for the season, we recommend that you (or a local, reputable chimney company) clean out your chimney, removing all ash, dirt, and debris that pose a fire risk. While you're at it, you can also light your pilot light to test the fireplace, if it is a gas-burning unit.
Check for cracks and air leaks around your home
A final item on your maintenance checklist is to make sure your house is sealed tightly for the upcoming season. First, you'll want to take a walk around the
perimeter of your house to check for cracks in the foundation that need to be sealed. You'll also want to check (and caulk where necessary) for faulty seals, cracks, or air leaks in locations where plumbing, ducting or electrical wiring comes through walls or floors. Sealing these cracks/leaks will help greatly in increasing the energy efficiency of your home throughout the year. Once you have completed your "Fall Home Maintenance Checklist," you can rest easy knowing that your home is winterized and ready for the upcoming holidays and snowy weather. Pat yourself on the back for a job well done and go enjoy a pumpkin spice latte -- on us!