Fall Home Maintenance Tips: Part One
Sad to say it, but Summer is now over. Finished. Kaput.
The Labor Day weekend is typically worshipped recognized as the unofficial end to the glory days of Summer, and we have now put that holiday behind us. While we are still experiencing some great weather here in New England, the weatherman has told us we can expect some drastic cooling in the temperatures very soon, which means that Fall is not far away, and before you know it Winter will be on top of us. So, with that sobering thought in mind, we thought it might be a good idea to get out our list of Fall maintenance tips so you can get a head start on keeping your home comfy during the upcoming cool season.
- Furnace/heating system: It’s always a good idea to have your furnace checked at least once a year by a professional to ensure that it’s in good working condition. We have an annual contract with our local gas company to come out and inspect the furnace twice a year; your local utility might offer a similar service, it’s worth checking into.
- Air vents: check any vents you may have, including intake and exhaust vents, and especially dryer vents, to make sure they work properly and are not blocked or clogged. Over 12,000 house fires are caused annually by clogged dryer vents.
- Range hoods/filters: these should be checked regularly for grease build-up and should be cleaned at least monthly and replaced if needed.
- Chimney/fireplace: Have your chimney inspected to ensure there are no obstructions, such as leaves, dead animals or bird nests. If you have a gas fireplace, turn on the pilot light. (You did turn it off during the summer, didn’t you? Our gas company told us leaving our pilot light lit when the fireplace was not being used could add $10 or more per month to your gas bill.)
- make sure all smoke and CO detectors and security systems are working properly, and replace batteries if needed.
- Ensure all doors, windows and skylights close tightly; replace worn or rotted weatherstripping.
- Check for leaks, especially around toilets, dishwashers and hot water heaters, under sinks and around washing machine hoses.
- Check grout and caulking in the bathroom and repair if necessary. Cracked or missing caulking can lead to unseen mold and mildew problems that can become major headaches later on.
- Check attic ventilation to remove blockages that might allow formation of ice dams.
- Place working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairways.
- Ensure you have adequate insulation in attic and/or basement.
- Do any needed interior painting while the weather is still warm enough to allow for leaving windows open for ventilation.
- Wrap any water pipes in foam sleeve insulation.
- Drain your hot water heater to eliminate sediment accumulation and prevent rust build-up.
- Review your fire escape plan with your family. (Don’t have one? Check here.)
- Consider having a Home Energy Audit performed on your home to determine where you may be losing precious heat.
This is not an exhaustive list of preventative measures you can take to “Autumnize” your home, but they will get you started. Our next post will focus on the things you can do outside of your home to keep you snug and worry-free when the leaves start to fall! Until then, we leave you with a clip from one of our favorite shows about home improvement…