With summer gone and the leaves starting to turn, it’s time to start fall home maintenance. Fall is the perfect time to perform important maintenance to your home so that you’re not caught in the middle of winter with a drafty house or a malfunctioning heater. Below, we have compiled the top 5 fall home maintenance tips to check off, along with what you can do to ensure your home stays warm and comfortable this winter.
1. Inspect your heating system:
It’s important to inspect your heating to ensure it functions all winter long. For conventional heating systems, you may already have a contract with the installation company. Many HVAC companies offer a fall/spring maintenance program. If not, start with your water heater. Ensure that your water heater is protected from the elements. For your heating unit, check the filters, gas lines, and flame. Make sure that you have a proper flame and oxygen flow. There should be no cracks, kinks, or holes in the gas lines.
2. Check your chimneys and fireplace:
Chimneys and fireplaces cause some of the most expensive damage to homes. Build-up from creosote can easily ignite, and cause a devastating fire. If you are unfamiliar with inspecting a chimney, it may be worth calling in a chimney sweep, which is usually quite affordable. Make sure to leave your flue closed when not in use, and always have a fireplace screen in front of open flames to protect your home from wayward sparks.
3. Assess your windows:
Windows may be a continual source of frustration for homeowners. There are many options for seal repair kits available at your local hardware store. Walk around the interior windows, placing your hand near the seal. Check for any breezes flowing through. Do the same process for doors. When you find one, mark it with a sticker or other indicator so you can tally how many repair kits you need. If a window is improperly sized, cracked, or broken, it needs to be replaced.
For doors, you can purchase draft preventers and other seal kits to improve the seal. Every 1/8 of an inch can lower a room a whole degree, so it can really pay off to have updated, well-sealed doors and windows.
4. Winterize your indoor pipes:
Winterizing pipes is one of the easiest, most valuable ways to protect your home over the winter. Most home repair stores carry fitted insulation that can easily wrap around any size pipe. If you can’t afford to do every pipe in your home, give priority to the pipes that are closest to the outdoors, or most likely to freeze. It’s also a good idea to shut off water to any area that won’t be used and to check pipes for leaks or cracks that may grow larger with the varying temperatures of fall.
5. Clear out the leaves and disconnect hoses:
Fall leaves may be beautiful, but these can slowly rot, causing huge backup and damage in gutters. This backup will cause water to spill over the gutter and into your yard and walking areas, which can cause damage to your home and make walking conditions dangerous. Disconnect all garden hoses, and store them coiled and flat in a cool, dry place. If possible, turn off water to all outside faucets and drain them to protect the outside pipes from damage. Also, store any outdoor furniture that may be at risk of damages due to snow or ice.
The best way to ensure that we are adequately prepared for the winter months is by ensuring we have done a solid, thorough once-over of our homes and guaranteed that everything is up to snuff. Your home insurance will not cover damages or losses due to lack of maintenance!
Speaking of home insurance: Excalibur Insurance brokers can help you get an affordable quote that meets your needs, so if anything bad does happen during the wintertime that is out of your control you can have a financial backup plan. Apply for a quote today.