Take this opportunity to check out your exterior doors to determine if they are leaking cold air. While outside, survey your home’s exterior walls and look for weather-related cracks or crumbling mortar. Wood trim and siding also can suffer from weather worn paint and may have become loose, as can windowsills.
Inspect your roof carefully to head off costly emergency repairs that may be needed during the winter. Keep an eye out for damaged or loose shingles, gaps in the flashing and mortar damage around the chimney. If you see or suspect any damage, contact us to evaluate and repair the damage.
Late summer and fall storms, such as hurricanes, tornadoes and even severe thunderstorms, can cause weak trees or branches to break and damage your home, car or power lines, in some cases weeks after the damaging weather has passed. Scan the wooded areas of your lot for large, dead branches, detached branches that are suspended in trees, cavities or rotten wood along trunks or split tree trunks. If you see anything that looks hazardous, contact a professional tree service.
If you have an in-ground lawn sprinkler system, contact us and we will be glad to refer you to someone about servicing the system for the winter to avoid costly repairs due to burst pipes.
*Don’t ignore your hose bibs and learn the location of your pipes as well as how to shut off the water. If your pipes end up freezing, you’ll have a better chance of preventing a burst if you can quickly shut water off. It’s also a good idea to check weather stripping and caulking around windows and doors, helping keep your home better insulated against the elements.
Last but not least of your exterior fall home maintenance chores, keep your gutters clear. It’s important to remove all debris so that water can properly drain, minimizing standing water and stalling the freeze and thaw expansion process that often occurs during colder months. If your lot is extremely wooded or you’ve had a problem in the past, consider installing gutter guards that prevent leaves and branches from entering your gutters and direct the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.
While you may be tempted to end your fall home maintenance check outside, a few simple interior checks also are warranted this time of year.
Check pipes for cracks and leaks and have any damage promptly repaired and consider insulating unfinished rooms, such as garages, if they contain exposed pipes. And, maintain at least 55 degrees in your home.
Before the cold weather strikes, take a look at your heating system to be sure it is in working order or have the unit serviced before the busy winter season. Check and replace appropriate filters and the batteries in smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors as well.
Do a quick check of insulation in your attic, to prevent the cycle of water freezing and melting on your roof, a potential cause of roof damage, and basement and crawl spaces to ensure your space is well insulated and to prevent freezing pipes.
The silcock (outdoor faucets) on your home are freeze proof. You will want to disconnect the hose from the faucet though.
If you have have a tankless hot water system, make sure that it is plugged in.
The use of humidifiers will help regulate the moisture in the house.
Don’t forget to check the caulk on your windows!
Finally, clean out any dust that has accumulated in vents to reduce exposure to indoor pollutants and cut down on winter colds.