As we enter fall, it is time to do some indoor and outdoor cleaning and maintenance.
Here is our complete fall home maintenance guide to help you get started with your fall preparations!
Verify your Safety Devices are Working
The first thing you should do is an overall check of the safety features in your home.
Start with things like smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors – replace the batteries and test the detectors by using the test button to ensure that they are functioning properly. If there aren’t smoke detectors on every floor of your home, install them now. And don’t forget the basement!
Next, you should check your fire extinguisher and make sure that the pressure gauge indicates that it is charged. Validate that the lock pin is firmly in place and that the discharge nozzle has nothing clogging it. Replace it if there are extensive dents or corrosion, or if the unit is more than six years old.
This is a great opportunity to get rid of any leftover hazardous household chemicals and old newspapers – you do not want anything flammable around furnaces, heaters, or any other appliances that produce heat. This will minimize the risk of fires!
Clean Out Your Gutters
Cleaning out your gutters is one of the most important tasks on our home maintenance guide! Remove any leaves and debris that are clogged in the gutters, and this will help water flow through much better.
Failing to clean these out can cause roof leaks and foundation issues – not to mention damage your landscaping and create a nesting place for unwanted pests! These problems can be costly to repair if not prevented.
Cleaning your gutters can be a dangerous task, so consider hiring a professional to do this for you. This will also ensure that the job gets done right.
Inspect Your Fireplace
If you plan on using your fireplace during the winter, it is important to inspect it before you are in a crunch and need to use it.
Use a flashlight to look inside the fireplace flue and make sure that the damper is opening and closing properly. It should be completely clear, with no leaves, branches, or other obstructions in the way.
Heating systems like fireplaces are one of the most common causes of house fires, so consider having it inspected by a professional.
Make Sure Your Chimney is Clean
Making sure that your chimney is clean is just as important as inspecting your fireplace!
It is essential to make sure your chimney is clean because the flue can ignite and cause a fire. Use your fireplace poker and run the point along the inside of the chimney liner. If there is a buildup that is about the width of a nickel, it needs to be cleaned!
The amount of cleaning required depends on the level of moisture in the wood that you burn – the more wet the logs are, the more often it needs to be cleaned and inspected. You can tell if the wood is wet if you see moisture bubbling out of the logs while they are burning. We recommend doing this after every 50 burns.
This type of wood leaves a lot of particles in the chimney and creates soot, while drier hardwoods like birch and oak will burn hotter and cleaner. If you are using these woods, you should clean your chimney after about 70 burns.
Check Your Insulation
Checking your insulation is the next step on our fall home maintenance guide.
If your energy bill seems to be rising each month, it could be that you have an issue with your home’s insulation. Although insulation generally lasts quite a long time, it may not be doing its job if it is not properly placed or is too old.
The goal is to keep warm or cold air inside the home, so if this is a concern, work with an insulation expert to see if it needs repairs.
Take this opportunity to check the seals on doors and windows – and where wires and pipes enter your home. Sealing these air leaks can also help you reduce your energy bill.
Service Your Mechanicals
Change HVAC Filters
Be sure to change your HVAC filters regularly to keep your unit(s) running efficiently. You may want to consider installing a programmable thermostat for cost savings.
Program Ceiling Fans
Ever wonder why your ceiling fan works in both directions? Setting them to spin in a clockwise rotation will push warm air down. This setting will help you save money in the winter. Be sure to keep them on low settings.
Flush Water Heater
Flushing your hot water heater will save on heating bills and help the unit last longer. Put a stocking on the end of the hose for a good indicator If your unit feels hot on the outside, it may be in your best interest to purchase an insulating sleeve.
Clean Refrigerator Coils
Save money on electricity by keeping your fridge running at peak performance. Even energy star equipment can perform poorly if not properly cleaned and cared for. The coils remove heat from your refrigerator and dusk buildup can hinder this process.
Clean Dryer Vent
Is it taking a little longer for your clothes to dry or are they coming out damp after the cycle completes? This could be a sign that your vent is clogged. Clogged dryer vents can easily cause house fires. It’s not difficult to do but it can be both money- and life-saving!
Drain Outdoor Faucets
The last tip on our list will help you prevent exterior water pipes from bursting when temperatures drop below freezing.
First, turn off the valves to your exterior hose bibs and run the water until the pipes are empty. All the water must be drained to prevent the pipes from freezing!
Turning off the water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets will also keep any leaks from allowing water to enter. You should also remove garden hoses from the outdoor faucets to avoid water backing up into the plumbing.
Keeping up on Maintenance Saves You Money!
Whether you’re looking to sell your home or pass it down to your next generation, keeping up with your home maintenance is cost-saving and life-saving. Extending years on your equipment, preventing water leaks, stopping heat and air conditioning loss could save thousands of dollars.
When your home is on the market, even if you cannot afford to update the look of your home, homebuyers will feel more comfortable with their purchase by the upkeep. Trust me, agents and buyers know when homes have been loved. This helps your home sell.
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