Don’t wait until winter to take care of your home maintenance needs. Fall is the perfect time to finish up major projects and conduct inspections to secure your home from drafts, pests, and scarily-high utility bills.
Check these seven items off your fall home maintenance task list:
1. Check Gutters and Downspouts
Prevent the build-up of leaves and other debris by checking and cleaning your gutters and downspouts. Pooling water may damage siding and the roof when gutters clog during rainstorms.
2. Seal Windows and Doors
Windows and doors must shut snugly and firmly. If either rattle once closed, then it doesn’t shut securely. Debris and dirt typically cause unnecessary drafts to enter, and worn out gaskets and seals allow more air to enter. Replace worn weather-stripping, and a new type of EnergyStar entry doors utilize stripping that adheres to the door magnetically. Self-adhesive foam is affordable, too, but choose the right stripping for your home.
Can you slide a sheet of paper under your door? If so, you need a new sweep. Pick up an easy-to-install vinyl kit at your local home improvement store. Newer entry doors allow you to adjust the threshold with a screwdriver.
3. Replace the Filter
Dirt particles and allergens get filtered in your filter, and a clogged filter reduces airflow. The increased resistance strains your heating and cooling system. Replace your filter to save money and protect your family from allergens this fall.
4. Attic Ventilation
Air sealing blocks the entry of heat and keeps attics cold in the winter. Natural flow in a vented attic keeps hot air out the attic, removes moisture and protects the roof as the seasons change. Use soffit vents or rafter vents to keep air flowing.
Fiberglass rolls are an easy DIY job, and wire mesh helps to create a barrier around openings. Install any second layer of insulation over the top and perpendicular to the first layer to reduce heat loss and gain. Start from the attic’s perimeter to the opening and don’t lay it over soffit vents or recessed light fixtures.
5. Clean the Fireplace and Chimney
Remove loose ashes with the fireplace shovel and sprinkle on flower beds for calcium and additional nutrients. Catch flue debris and loose dust with loose newspaper as you scrub with a wire brush. Baking soda and warm water clean up stained bricks. While cleaning, arrange the damper in the correct position if jarred to ensure fireplace safety.
Wear a mask or put on a respirator to ensure you don’t inhale creosote. Install a chimney cap to prevent animals and fallen branches from entering.
If you hire a chimney sweep, search for a certified sweep who knows how chimneys should be built and knows the codes and standards. The sweep should also have workman’s compensation and insurance.
6. Inspect for and Seal Driveway Cracks
Blow or sweep away leaves and other debris from the driveway. Use a degreaser to remove old oil stains. Pull up the weeds between the cracks, and spray bleach to kill off moss therein. Spray down the driveway and let it dry so you have a long-lasting treatment.
Once you find a 24 or 48-hour period of clear skies, fill the cracks in the driveway and prepare the sealant. If you use driveway patch, wait four weeks before sealing. Use the back of a shovel to help seal cracks larger than half an inch in the middle of your driveway.
7. Tackle Landscape and Yardwork
Mow down grass to 2.5 inches during the cold season, but during warmer seasons, you can adjust that if you have goals to eliminate crabgrass, for example. Fertilize your garden and trees and tackle any weeds.
Mid-fall is a great time to fertilize your trees and other plants as the nutrients will remain in the soil when spring arrives. Trim back bushes and trees that overhang your chimney. When you stow your mower, don’t forget to add fuel stabilizer to keep the evaporating gas from harming the internal parts of the engine.
The start of the cool season makes for a great time to finish up larger projects around the house and take care of home maintenance concerns. Check off these seven items to prevent damage, stay warm and increase energy efficiency, and contact us for more for taking the best care of your home in the warm and cold seasons.