Fall is here, and it’s time to take a good look at your home’s maintenance at this time. A checklist can help you avoid future issues with your home as well as prevent costly repairs. Gutter and downspout maintenance are a good place to start because they may be inaccessible during the winter.
Quick and Easy Gutter and Downspout Checks
You’ll want to start with a good cleaning of your gutters and downspout. This should be done on a warm, sunny day and will include:
- Removing any leaves that accumulated in the gutters or downspout
- Removing any debris found in the gutters or downspout
While you’re looking at your gutters, you’ll also want to . The pooling can cause snow and ice to build-up in certain sections of the gutter. Older gutters may fall or become further damaged if the pooling is allowed to exist.
When drainage isn’t working properly, this can lead to:
- Water coming out behind the gutter
- Water damaging walkways
- Water damaging foundations
Be sure to check all of the gutters’ brackets to ensure that they’re securely in place and will be able to withstand the winter months.
Inspect Heating Systems and Water Heaters
Turn on your heating system and see if the air is coming out warm. Test your home’s hot water, too. Pay attention to the hot water to see if you run out of it quickly.
If the water turns cold quickly, there may be an issue with your water heater.
Your heating system’s filter should be replaced, and a professional should be called to check your furnace or HVAC system for optimal performance. Not only will this inspection help you determine issues with the unit, but it will help you save money over the long-term.
Ducts should also be cleaned at this time.
When you clean your heating system’s ducts, you’ll be reducing the amount of dust that enters the air and lower the risk of respiratory issues, too.
Stop Drafts and Energy Waste with Window and Door Inspections
Windows and doors should also undergo an inspection. These two items account for the majority of the heating or cooling lost in a home.
Make sure your to-do list includes:
- Replacing screens with storm windows
- Repairing any loose or damaged frames
If you do find that there is a draft at a door or window, you’ll want to install draft stoppers, caulk around the windows and doors, and also install weather stripping in areas that are worn. All of these measures can lead to significant energy savings.
Prevent Pipe Bursts or Freezing
Frozen or burst pipes are a major, and potentially costly, repair. The goal is to stop the potential freezing and burst in the fall so that the piping system is prepared for the colder, winter months.
Start with insulating all of your home’s pipes as best as possible.
This should be done on pipes that are exposed and closest to the exterior walls. Pipes that are located in the middle of the home shouldn’t be a concern.
During this time, also make sure that you locate your water shut-off valve. This is the valve that you’ll need to shut off in case your pipes do freeze. It's also a good idea to locate this valve because if a pipe does burst, you’ll be able to minimize damage by shutting off the water to the home.
There are a lot of other tasks that you’ll also want to complete:
- Inspect and clean your chimney
- Check the fireplace flute
- Check your attic’s ventilation
- Prune trees in the yard
- Perform any needed landscaping
Any issues with your home’s roof should also be taken care of before the winter months in areas where snow is common. Snow that accumulates on the roof is very heavy and can lead to the roof failing over time, or lead to leak or damage progression.