- September 2013
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It still feels like summer most days in Gary, but don’t let that fool you into putting off your fall home maintenance. Before you know it, cool days and cooler nights will be the norm, while means now’s the time to get your fall to-do list ready and start crossing off tasks. Properly preparing for winter is essential for optimum comfort, energy savings and averting disaster during the cold months.
Your Home’s Exterior
The last thing you need when there’s a foot of snow on the ground is to discover a problem with the exterior of your house. From the roof to the foundation and out to the garage, these essential preparations for winter will help prevent emergencies.
- Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles. Check around the valleys and peaks for curled or damaged flashing. Have your roof repaired if necessary before winter to prevent leaks and further deterioration.
- Clean out your gutters and inspect the seams and downspouts for integrity. Cover your gutters with wire mesh to prevent debris from settling and causing water damage to your foundation.
- Inspect your home’s exterior. Look for cracks in the foundation and repair them right away. Look for peeling paint, which can cause deterioration of the siding and lead to expensive repairs down the road.
- Caulk around window and door frames and where the foundation meets the siding of your home to seal air leaks and protect against damage from the elements. Apply expandable caulk around service entrances, pipes and vents that enter the house.
- Inspect your driveway and walkways for cracks. Repair them with driveway filler and seal with a commercial sealer.
- Remove screens and replace them with storm windows.
Your Home’s Interior
These fall home maintenance tasks will help prevent air loss, which can make your furnace work overtime to keep you warm, and will help ensure your family’s safety this winter.
- Have your fireplace inspected and cleaned by a professional chimney sweep. Creosote buildup inside the chimney is a serious fire hazard, and loose bricks and cracks can get worse fast, resulting in expensive repairs.
- Schedule preventive maintenance on your heating system. A comprehensive tuneup by a qualified HVAC technician increases system efficiency, lowers your utility costs, ensures safety, extends the life of your furnace and prevents common heating problems during the winter.
- Replace the batteries on your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors. Test them for correct operation. If you don’t have detectors installed in your home, place one of each on every floor in your home, as close to the ceiling as possible. And make sure one of each is in close proximity to your main sleeping area.
- Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan blades by flipping the switch at the top of the fan. During the cold months, keep your ceiling fans on the lowest speed to pull warm air upward and distribute it throughout the room, making it feel warmer.
- Seal air leaks in your home to prevent the loss of warm air and keep the cold air out. Seal with caulk around door and window frames where they meet the wall. Install weatherstripping between movable components of doors and windows. Use expandable caulk to seal gaps around service entrances, pipes and vents, and install precut foam gaskets behind outlet covers and switch plates.
In the Yard
The cold air, ice and snow can take a toll on your outdoor furniture, hoses and tools. Be sure to put these things to bed for the winter.
- Drain the fuel from your gas-powered lawn tools and store them away for the winter.
- Drain your hoses and store them. If you have a water shutoff valve to your outdoor faucets, close them.
- Clear leaves and other debris from around the outdoor unit of your air conditioner and cover it loosely with a tarp to protect it from the elements.
- Clean, service and organize your snow removal tools. Have on hand snow melt for your walkways and porch steps.
- Apply high phosphorous lawn fertilizer to your grass to ensure healthy growth next spring.
- Store away your patio furniture and accessories and take down any string lights or shade sails.
- Add mulch to cold weather plants to help protect them from the elements.
For more expert advice about what should be on your fall home maintenance checklist, please feel free to contact the pros at Meyer’s Company. We’ve proudly served Griffith and surrounding areas with a high level of customer satisfaction since 1951.