Just as you need to transition from one season to another, so does your home. Since your home can’t do it on it’s own, it’s relying on you. Fall is a good time to take care of home repair projects before cold winter days, and in many areas, ice and snow, make outdoor work too difficult. If you do live in an area with cold winters, take some time this fall to boost energy efficiency throughout your home.
Check these 9 items off your list this season, and you’ll rest easy knowing that your home is buttoned up and ready for winter.
1. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Clogged gutters during rain storms can cause water to pool, causing potential damage to the roof, windows, and siding. Once most of the leaves have fallen, it’s a good idea to have your downspouts and gutters cleaned out. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional if you are not comfortable on a ladder.
2. Seal Gaps where Critters Could Enter
Outside critters only need a tiny gap to sneak into your house and raid your pantry. With colder weather coming, all of the little critters will be looking for warm places to call home. Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors. If you notice any larger gaping holes – call a PunchList Pro to evaluate further.
3. Shut-Off Exterior Faucets and Store Hoses
When water freezes, it expands. If the temperature of your pipes drops below 32 degrees, even for a short period of time, you run the risk of a pipe fracture or worse. Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Don’t forget to drain your hoses too, and store them indoors afterward.
4. Add Weatherstripping
Doors and windows in your home can leak air, even when closed. If you see light shining through the cracks around your doors or windows, it is time to replace the weatherstripping. Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors helps boost winter warmth and cut energy costs by keeping cold air from seeping through the cracks. Additionally, you can add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air, dust, and insects out.
5. Clean Dryer Vents
Regular dryer vent cleaning helps remove lint, dirt, and debris that can obstruct the dryer’s performance. Cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite built-up dryer lint and cause a fire in your home. With a little handiwork, you can clean the lint out yourself, or hire a duct cleaning specialist to do so for you – we’d be happy to refer you to one!
6. Schedule a Chimney Cleaning
Fireplaces continue to be a leading cause of house fires and carbon monoxide poisoning. A chimney cleaning and inspection is recommended at least once a year to protect your health and your home. Scheduling a chimney cleaning before the burning season is an easy way to improve your fireplace efficiency and remove any obstructions that limit or cut off any oxygen supply. Be sure to add a chimney cap if you don’t already have one — it will stop critters from crawling down your chimney.
7. Service HVAC
Your HVAC system should be serviced twice a year – spring and fall – to prepare for both the hot summer and cold winter months. If your unit is excessively dirty or clogged, it can diminish the quality of air throughout your home. Servicing your HVAC unit helps with energy savings and can also help extend the life of your unit by up to 10 years. Making sure your HVAC system is in good working order before turning on the heat is an important safety measure. Not sure where to begin? A PunchList Pro would be happy to evaluate and service your HVAC system.
8. Check Smoke Detectors
With the heat turned on, the windows closed and portable heaters humming along, fall is a great time to make sure your smoke and CO detectors are working. While smoke detectors are typically good for 10 years, and CO detectors last for about six years – make sure to double-check the batteries and expiration dates.
9. Check Walkways, Railings, Stairs, and Driveway for Winter Safety
Prepare for winter weather by making sure that navigating around your home is safe. Look to make sure all stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling.
Now that your house is prepped and ready to take on winter, it’s time to hang your wreaths and light pumpkin spice candles to achieve the full fall ambiance! As always – if you need any assistance with the above items, don’t hesitate to call a PunchList Pro and we’ll be on our way.