The leaves are already changing, the kids are back in school, and the holidays will be here in the blink of an eye. The cooler days and frosty nights of fall are a sign that winter is right around the corner, so it’s a good idea to look around your home and make any necessary repairs or changes now to avoid seasonal damage and/or expensive bills during the cold weather. This 10-step fall home maintenance checklist will help you protect your home against cool and wet fall and winter weather:
- Inspect your fireplaces. Hiring a professional chimney sweep to inspect and/or sweep your chimney is the best idea. A professional will examine your fireplace and chimney flue for wear, corrosion, or damage, and will suggest any necessary cleaning or repairs.
- Double check your fire extinguishers. It is a good idea to have at least one fire extinguisher in your home. Check to be sure yours is in proper working order and have it refilled or replaced if it is not up to par. Click here for more information on how to select and use a fire extinguisher.
- Test smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. You should test these at least twice per year and replace the batteries if necessary. Winter is an especially dangerous time for fires, especially in a home with a working fireplace.
- Seal windows, doors, and electrical outlets. Inspect all caulking and weather stripping around windows, doors, and entryways; replace or re-install if damaged or worn. Installing foam gaskets behind the wallplates of your electrical outlets will stop any additional heat from escaping your home.
- Examine heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems (HVAC). For proper operation, your HVAC systems require a yearly inspection. Depending on whether you have experience, as well as how you heat and cool your home, this job may be better reserved for a professional. Schedule a service appointment today.
- Investigate the attic insulation. For best results, insulation needs to be installed correctly and free from wear or damage. A well-insulated attic is the best defense against heat loss over the winter. Since insulation is a hazardous material, your skill level will determine whether this is a do-it-yourself project or a job for a professional.
- Reverse the ceiling fans. During the cooler fall and winter months, rotate the blades of your ceiling fans in reverse to move the warmer air down from the top of your rooms. Reverse the direction using the switch on the exterior of your ceiling fan. Refer to your owner’s manual for details.
- Clear the dryer vent. Dryer lint collects quickly in the exhaust hose and vent. This lint is extremely flammable and creates a fire hazard; for safe operation, your dryer’s exhaust hose and vent should be cleared of lint and inspected for damage twice per year.
- Vacuum refrigerator coils. Dust and other debris attach to the coils under or behind your refrigerator, which forces it to work harder to keep your food cold. Save money by cleaning these coils twice per year.
- Repair leaky faucets and heat tape the pipes. To better protect your home’s plumbing system from cold weather-related damage, you should wrap your accessible water pipes with heat tape. While inspecting your pipes and adding or replacing heat tape, be sure to have any leaky pipes, gaskets, or valves you discover repaired or replaced as well.
Winter can be an expensive, frustrating, and dangerous season without adequate preparation. However, a little planning now will help you avoid expensive repairs and costly heating bills down the line. Accomplishing these tasks will help you protect the inside of your home and cut costs, but it’s important to remember that your home’s exterior also requires attention at this time of year. Click here to review the Outdoor Fall Home Maintenance Checklist and learn about the precautions you can take to protect the outside of your home during the cold months ahead.
At Knapton, Reade, & Woods, protecting your home and family is our priority. For additional home maintenance tips and safety resources, please read our blog, or visit us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+.