Happy fall everyone!
Autumn has arrived, and the weather is starting to turn crisp. The leaves are changing, the nights are lengthening, and the winds are picking up. If you were tired of the hot summer, then you’re more than ready for the change in season. But is your home ready for fall? If you haven’t prepared your residence for the autumn months, here is a checklist of the 11 tasks which should be completed as soon as possible.
1. Check your gutters. Get up on a ladder and scoop, spray, or vacuum out the leaves, pine needles, and other debris. Use water from a garden hose to check your downspouts to make sure that they are not clogged. Or if you already have Gutter Helmet you can pour yourself a warm apple cider and relax.
2. Climb up on the roof. Check for shingles that are buckling, broken, or missing, and fix or replace them. Then look for leaky vents or corroded flashing, and repair those areas if necessary.
3. Look down at the ground. Any uneven concrete or asphalt areas on your driveways, steps, or sidewalks will become especially hazardous during icy conditions. Level out the area around cracks, and use liquid concrete patch to seal the cracks.
4. Inspect doors and windows. If you can feel air moving around the edges, then you have a leak that needs to be addressed. Use caulk and/or weather-stripping to create an air-tight seal. If there are multiple leaks in one portal, put in a new window or door.
5. Prepare your heaters. Clean or change all filters. Perform whatever scheduled maintenance is recommended for your central heating system and/or space heaters. Drain any hot water heaters and remove any sediment that is left behind. Consider calling in a professional to perform a thorough inspection.
6. Make sure safety equipment works. This means checking batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. If applicable, test fire extinguishers and escape ladders. Remind your family what to do in case of a fire.
7. Bundle up summer. Bring in patio furniture, pool toys, and related summer recreational items and store them in a safe place. Take down umbrellas and sunscreens if needed.
8. Look in your attic. Find areas that may be low on (or devoid of) insulation and put down a new layer of spray or fiberglass insulation. Check areas where pipes or wiring enters the attic from the outside; if you see gaps, fill them with caulk or sealant. Wet spots from a leaky roof should also be checked for, check right after it rains and look for any damp wet spots or black rings around where roofing nails come through your roof. Any large damp wet areas should be addressed immediately before winter.
9. Prepare outdoor faucets. Drain your outdoor spigots by closing off the valves to the plumbing system and draining them. You can also purchase weather-resistant covers to put over the spigots so they won’t freeze.
10. Examine outdoor lights. The days will get short before you know it, so check to see which outdoor light bulbs need to be swapped out. Test any motion-detector lighting systems to make sure they work properly.
11. Don’t forget your chimneys. If you’re going to be using your fireplace when the mercury drops, check the flue to ensure that it opens and closes properly. Also, clean out any soot that has accumulated in the fireplace over time. Consider getting your chimney cleaned and swept.
Photo credit: MSVG