As days shorten, nights become cooler, and the smell of pumpkin spiced lattes fills the air, homeowners should begin to think of and plan for some basic fall maintenance items that will help protect your home from the impending winter season. Many of the following items deserve attention throughout the year but are especially important as cold weather approaches.
- Clean the soffit (under the roof overhangs) vents. These can get clogged up with lint, dust, insulation, and paint.
- Check the roof vents for residual bird or insect nests. Remove any blockage to these vents to ensure they’re operating as intended.
- After all leaves have fallen, clean the gutters and downspouts. If gutter guards are installed, check them to confirm they’re secured and in place and that roof valleys aren’t blocked.
- If the downspouts or sump pumps drain into an underground system, re-direct them to drain to the ground surface when feasible, to prevent backup due to freezing.
- Check for missing, loose, or dried-out caulking around doors, windows, pipes, ducts, faucets, air conditioner refrigerant lines, etc.
- Larger gaps or holes in the foundation or siding are a potential entry point for rodents looking for easy access to heat, food, and water. Plug them with steel wool, spray foam and/or caulk as appropriate.
- Check weatherstripping around windows and doors. Repair or replace as needed to maintain optimum seal.
- Wash and seal wood decks and stairways to protect from snow and ice.
- Disconnect all garden hoses. If left attached, even frost-free faucet hose bibs can freeze and result in burst pipes.
- Winterize your lawn sprinkler system. Hire a professional to drain and blow-out the system with compressed air.
- Have your furnace serviced by a professional. See our HVAC Blog for more details and information.
- Replace the batteries in your thermostats to avoid them failing that one weekend in January that you’re out of town.
- Clean or replace the furnace filter.
- Outdoor AC compressor units do NOT need to be completely covered. Doing so can lead to excessive condensation and deterioration of the components. Covering the top to protect the unit from heavy snow or ice may be advisable, depending on the location.
- If a wood-burning fireplace is part of your home heating strategy, you should have the flue professionally cleaned annually, or every 30-50 fires.
- Gas logs or inserts should have the dust cleaned from the components prior to firing up for the heating season.
Smoke and CO Alarms
- Clean dust off of the covers of smoke and CO alarms
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms.
- Test smoke and CO alarms to make sure they work! Smoke alarms are generally good for up to 10 years; CO alarms 5-10 years. Plan to replace them if they exceed that.
- Confirm that your smoke and CO alarm locations are consistent with the following recommendations:
- Smoke alarms: in every bedroom plus 1 per common area on each floor of the home.
- CO alarms: 1 within 10’ of every sleeping room.
Air Intakes and Exhausts
- Check intake vents for blockage and clean as needed.
- Clean the clothes dryer duct.
- Check the exterior damper on the clothes dryer duct to confirm that the louvers move open and closed freely and completely.
- Check and clean bathroom and kitchen exhaust fans to ensure that dampers open properly, and airflow isn’t reduced by buildup of dust or insects.
Lawns and Landscaping
- Trim shrubs, grasses, and other perimeter growth from contacting your home structure, including the siding and roof to prevent prolonged direct contact and potential damage from moisture.
- Run all gas-powered lawn equipment until the fuel is gone for winter storage.
Driveways and Walkways
- Seal asphalt and caulk concrete sidewalks and driveways to prevent water entering cracks, leading to freeze-related damage.
Acuity offers Home Maintenance Inspections that can help a homeowner who doesn’t have the time or ability to identify maintenance items that need attention. By catching problems early, you’ll be able to minimize the potential damage of issues left unaddressed, protecting your home investment. Call Acuity today for your Fall Home Maintenance Inspection!