Hard to believe, but Fall is here. If you’re a homeowner, the arrival of Autumn means more than cooler temperatures.
It’s a great opportunity to do some Fall maintenance and prepare for the colder months ahead. A checklist of preventative tasks can save you money on heating bills, reduce risk of fire and ensure there’s no nasty surprises when winter arrives. Not to mention you’re protecting one of your biggest investments – your home.
Here are some tips:
On the outside:
1) Wall cracks and peeling paint – Often a sign of water damage, repainting, caulking and seal small cracks help retain heat in your house. These preventative measures are affordable and help prevent further damage or water entering your home. It’s also a great time to do any exterior painting.
2) Inspect your roof for missing shingles– Fall is the perfect time for this. Why? Frigid temperatures can compromise the success of new roof installations and repairs such as shingle replacement because new shingles can’t seal properly when it’s too cold. Professional inspections can help discover larger problems such as unwanted structural issues, mold growth or damaged insulation.
3) Inspect window caulking/install storms– Windows – especially if they’re older – are a prime source of heat loss. That, in turn, affects your energy bill. A little effort goes a long way toward keeping your home warm!
4) Clean the gutters– Leaves and other debris can accumulate here. Gutters keep water away from your house and if they’re blocked it can overflow onto the ground or seep into your basement. Ensure downspouts are pointed away from the house and use extensions if necessary. If you want to go all the way, install leaf guards.
5) Repair the driveway and porch– Repair any cracked walkways, steps and the driveway to minimize winter damage.
6) Clean/store outdoor furniture– This one’s pretty obvious, but while you’re at it get your winter gear ready so you’re not scrambling at the first snowfall.
7) Put the garden to bed– Fall is a great time to plant certain shrubs and perennials. You can also bring any houseplants inside which help clean the air inside your home. When you rake clean up the leaves, you can use some of them as protective mulch for your garden. Remember to drain your garden hose and turn off the outdoor water supply.
On the inside:
1) Clean/test the furnace – Your furnace collects all kinds of dust and debris which not only affects its performance but could cause a fire. Don’t forget to change or rinse a re-useable filter. If you have a gas furnace, it’s a good idea to have it professionally inspected annually.
2) Humidifier– If you use a humidifier to avoid the discomfort of dry winter air, be sure to clean its filter or replace it to avoid bacteria and mold buildup.
3) Fireplace checkup– Have your chimney cleaned and check the vents. Creosote buildup in a fireplace can cause a fire. Any obstructions in your chimney can also put you at risk of carbon monoxide poisoning.
4) Sealing and insulation– Check windows and doors for weather stripping and replace as necessary. If you have a bad draft under the door, consider replacing the threshold.
5) Ceiling fan– Reverse the direction of your ceiling fan to go in a clockwise direction so that air is being drawn upward. This pushes the air up against the ceiling and down the walls to gently re-circulate the warm air.
6) Banish dust - Move furniture or any obstructions from vents, baseboard heaters, registers on the floor or radiators so that air moves freely. It’s a good time to vacuum these areas to remove any dust or debris. Clean ducts and areas behind the dryer.
7) Smoke/Carbon monoxide detectors– Ensure these lifesavers are working properly by cleaning them and replacing batteries once a year.
At the end of the day, preventative steps you take in the fall will save you money in the long run and catch any potential issues before they become big problems.
RELATED READING:CMHC Guide to Home Repair and Maintenance