Periodic maintenance of your home is essential if you want to protect your investment. This is especially true in the fall, critical period between the warm and cold seasons, when it is important to perform a few tasks to ensure your home is ready for the rigours of winter. Here’s a list of the major tasks to be done.
Getting ready outside
1. Inspect the roof. If possible, make your inspection using binoculars from the ground. Locate any raised or damaged shingles requiring repair or replacement. Examine the condition of roof flashings, skylights and roof joints.
2. Clean eavestroughs. Remove all leaves and debris. Pay special attention to downspouts: using a garden hose, run water in the downspout to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
3. Seal cracks. Carefully examine the foundation walls and repair any cracks you find. If a crack extends into the ground, call a specialist. Take the opportunity to check exterior siding condition.
4. Clean the chimney. Chimneys should be swept one to three times a year, depending on use. In the fall, make sure there are no branches or bird nests inside the chimney.
5. Turn off the water. Disconnect and drain outdoor hoses; close interior valve to outdoor hose connections and drain them.
You should also store all outdoor items such as patio furniture, barbecue, etc. When the ground is frozen, install winter protection on trees and shrubs.
Getting ready inside
1. Check doors and windows. Check for and replace damaged caulking and weatherstripping around windows and doorways. Replace window screens with storm windows.
2. Clean carpets and curtains. Deep cleaning of carpets, curtains and drapes helps improve air quality. You can use a steam machine or call on a professional.
3. Prevent heating problems. Whatever the heating system you use, regular maintenance is a must. Gas and oil furnaces should be serviced by a qualified service company. Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
4. Test smoke detectors. Check all smoke and carbon monoxide alarms, and replace the batteries.
Many other procedures can be performed in the fall and every owner should establish a maintenance routine suited to their situation. The important thing is to ensure the safety of your home and prepare for the cold season.