Fall Care for Winter Wear
Fall Care for Winter Wear
A color-changing skyline should trigger a few end-of-season home maintenance and cleaning projects.
Take it from the top.
Your roof is your first and best defense against rain, sleet, and snow. Before temperatures dip into the 30s and below, check for general wear and tear, such as cracking, broken, or missing shingles. If you have moss growing on your roof, remove it, and make sure the material underneath is not damaged. Check the flashing around air vents and the chimney for potential leaks. While you’re on the roof, trim small dead branches and determine if any larger limbs should be removed before heavy ice creates the potential for a catastrophe. Gutters and downspouts should be cleared of leaves and debris around the middle of fall, and checked again just before the beginning of winter to make sure they don’t require another cleaning. Once they’re clear and if your budget allows, install leaf guards to keep out future debris.
Do a perimeter check.
Take a walk around your house and note any doors or windows that may need caulked. Look for rips and tears in storm windows, and seal cracks to prevent drafts. Weather-stripping may be installed around doors to circumvent air intrusion, which can take a toll on your HVAC system. Anderson Watkins Insurance further suggests cleaning the dryer vent and cutting the water supply to exterior pipes.
An inside job.
Your fall home maintenance doesn’t stop at the front door. In order to fully protect your home throughout the winter, you’ll need to double check the insulation in the attic and crawlspace. Blown insulation should be thick and extend in a uniform layer throughout the attic. If there is evidence of intruders, such as squirrels, birds, and raccoons, fix any potential entryways by replacing rotten wood or installing animal-resistant screens.
It’s getting hot in here.
Your fireplace may provide warmth and ambience throughout the winter, but it’s also one of the most dangerous aspects of your home during cold weather. Your chimney, flue, and fireplace should be checked once a year by a licensed and certified chimney sweep. If there is more than ⅛-inch soot build-up on the interior, it should be cleaned. According to High’s Chimney, creosote and soot can collect inside the chimney, and may cause skin and eye irritation along with respiratory problems, especially in children and the elderly. Also, change the batteries in your smoke, fire, and carbon monoxide detectors now and again in the spring.
Something’s in the air.
Your HVAC system not only ensures that the temperature remains comfortable, but also works to eliminate dust particles and other contaminants from the air. At the change of this and every season, replace your main return vent filter to avoid recirculating pollen and dirt. This will reduce allergies and cut down on your daily dusting and mopping. More importantly, replacing your furnace filter will keep it operating efficiently all season long and reduce your chances of an expensive repair.
Cleaning for a cause.
We get it -- nobody really wants to wash the windows or shampoo the carpet. However, a good deep cleaning now will enhance your enjoyment of your home’s interior spaces. And since you’re likely going to be stuck indoors for days at a time, it’s a good idea to get this stuff out of the way now so you can relax later. Take a day to wipe down the walls throughout your entire home or, better yet, add a fresh coat of paint to brighten things up. Pull appliances away from the wall and sweep and mop the floor underneath. Give your oven a good cleaning while you can still open the windows. Now is also a great time to wash the curtains, clean grout seams, and re-organize closets.
Many of these projects require little or no experience or special tools and will save you time and money in repair costs down the road. Remember, your home is your castle. Treat it like a fortress, and it will protect you all winter long.