Monday, October 19, 2009

Fall Home Care Tips

It might not feel like it today…

weather 10-19-09 but fall is here.

Courtesy of Home Warranty of America, here’s some seasonal home maintenance tips (with commentary by me in orange).

“With the fall and winter months upon us, now is the time to do some routine maintenance around your home to prepare for the changing weather ahead. Taking the time to do some work now may save on some major expenses later. Some of these tasks can be performed by you, and some may need to be done by a professional.

Outside Your Home

  1. Clear debris out of window wells, gutters, downspouts, and storm drains.

  2. Remove garden hoses from spouts. Drain and store for the winter. Wrap spouts in insulation.

  3. Drain in-ground sprinkler systems. (heeee! oh those poor people who live in cold climates)

  4. Check windows, doors, and siding for holes and cracks. Caulk as necessary.

  5. Check weather stripping on windows and doors for fit and condition. Replace as necessary.

  6. Inspect all soffit vents and other venting systems to make sure they're clear of debris. (does anybody even know what this means? is this a cold weather thing, or am I ignorant of home care because I live in a condo?)

  7. Check painted surfaces for paint failure, water damage, or mildew. Repair or repaint if needed.

  8. Check caulking where two different materials meet, where wood siding joins the foundation wall, at inside corners, and where the window and door trim meets the siding. (siding! how quaint. We ‘Zonies could probably give the outside stucco of the house a quick once-over for cracks. Home Depot and others like them sell stucco repair materials.)

  9. Check for broken or cracked glass and damaged screens or storm windows. Check for loose putty around glass panes. Repair glass if necessary.

  10. Insulate outdoor faucets, pipes in unheated garages, and pipes in crawl spaces with materials such as rags or newspapers. (again with the cold… gosh I don’t miss that!)

Inside your Home:

  1. Have a heating professional check your heating system every year. Replace your furnace filter.

  2. Woodburning stove connector pipes and chimneys should be inspected by a certified chimney sweep at least annually.

  3. Make sure you have proper insulation in your attic/crawlspace. While checking your insulation, if you see any dark, dirty spots, it may indicate you have air leaks coming into your home.

  4. Remove hair from drains in sinks, tubs, and showers.

  5. Test all smoke alarms. Replace batteries as necessary.

  6. Check your home around windows and doors for air leaks. An easy way to check for leaks is to move a lighter around the window or door frame and see if the flame moves with a breeze. If you find a leak, you can caulk it or you may have to replace the wood frame. Repairing these leaks can save you money on your energy bill during the cold months.

  7. Check for water leaks on the ceiling. Repair if needed.

  8. Make sure there are working nightlights at the top and bottom of all stairs. (I fail to see how this is seasonal. Any cold-climate readers clue us in?)

  9. Test your emergency generator.