Fall is rapidly approaching
(September 23rd) so it’s a important time to start preparing for the cooler season and freezing winter temps to follow. You can prepare for winter using our home maintenance checklist while taking advantage of the beautiful fall weather with our fall maintenance tips guide. According to the farmers almanac we’re in for a winter full of typical cold with higher than average snowfall.
EXTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE:
Caulk and seal areas where wire and pipes penetrate the exterior and enter the home, around window and door frames and at the juncture of siding to trim. Check window, door and door threshold weather striping, these areas are typically where air infiltration occur. In addition to air infiltration openings in the structure are a pathway for rodents looking for a warm place to nest and water to get in and freeze, resulting in potential water and ice damage from severe winter conditions.
Inspect all the painted exterior surfaces for any peeling, blistering or deteriorated paint finishes. Poorly protected paint surfaces can result in expensive repairs to deteriorated trim, siding and structural components. Check your driveway for cracks and deteriorated expansion joints. Fill cracks with backer rod on larger cracks and then caulk with a good urethane caulk and while your at it don’t forget to check the garage door weatherstripping and door seal.. Crack’s in driveways and concrete surfaces can lead to damaged asphalt, concrete and displacement of sections due water infiltration and the repeated freeze thaw cycles throughout the winter.
Disconnect your garden hoses, drain them and store for the winter before the temps dip below freezing. This will prevent frozen pipes and hose spigots even if you have the frost protected type. If possible turn the water supply vales off and drain the exterior hose spigots. Check window wells and clean out the leaves and debris.
Have you chimney, fireplace and wood burning stoves checked by a professional especially if you burn wood to make sure the your chimney is clean and free of bird nests. Chimneys should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep annually. While your having your chimney looked at you might consider having a professional roofer check your roof and look for missing and loose shingles. Clean your gutters and downspouts after the leaves have fallen.
INTERIOR HOME MAINTENANCE:
“Heating and cooling your home uses more energy and costs more money than any other system in your home — typically making up about 48% of your utility bill.
No matter what kind of heating and cooling system you have in your house, you can save money and increase your comfort by properly maintaining and upgrading your equipment. But remember, an energy-efficient furnace alone will not have as great an impact on your energy bills as using the whole-house approach. By combining proper equipment maintenance and upgrades with recommended insulation, air sealing, and thermostat settings, you can save about 30% on your energy bill.”
Change your standard furnace filters monthly and have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and have fewer problems when properly serviced. Don’t forget to clean and service your humidifiers and replace and wicks/pads or any other necessary components.
Make sure you have proper and sufficient insulation in your attic. According to the U.S. Department of Energy http://energy.gov/energysaver/articles/tips-insulation recommend insulation value for the St. Louis region (zone 4) in attics is R38 to R60.
Test and change the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, if you heat with gas you should have at least one carbon monoxide detector located in appropriate areas. Consult the manufactures recommended location or your local fire department.
Don’t forget to change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft. this will force warm air down and help make your home more comfortable.
IN THE YARD AND GARDEN:
Keep cutting your grass till the end of the season and them clean your lawn care equipment and properly store them including draining the fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, weed eaters, leaf blowers, and chain saws. Make sure all of your snow and ice removal equipment is properly running and ready before the winter storm. Don’t forget fall is a great time to fertilize and seed your lawn.
The fall home maintenance check list is merely meant as guide. We’ve tried to keep it simple and concise and your fall home maintenance checklist should be customized to your home home and specific needs.