With the kids back in school and football season kicking off, it’s clear that fall will soon be upon us. For homeowners, that means pulling out the old toolbox – or calling a professional – for some critical home maintenance. Here are five things you should do to ensure your house is ready for the changing seasons.
1. Tune up the heating system
You can never predict exactly when that first cold snap will hit, so make sure your heating system is ready when it does. It’s always better to call sooner rather than later, as HVAC companies get busy later in the year. A reputable heating company should be able to inspect your furnace or heat pump for around $100. If you’ve kept good tabs on it, you shouldn’t need more than that.
2. Check the roof
There’s nothing worse than the cold drip of melting snow seeping through your ceiling. The best protection is an up close and personal inspection before the snow arrives. Climb up on the roof and give it a good once over. You don’t need to be a professional roofer, just do a visual scan for loose, damaged or missing tiles or shingles. If necessary, call any handyman services to replace a few errant shingles. Climbing up on the roof can be dangerous of course, so only risk it if you’re steady on your feet – and not afraid of heights. You should also request to see your handyman’s occupational license and proof of insurance.
3. Clean out the gutters
Since you have the ladder out anyway, you may as well clean out the rain gutters. Even if your gutters aren’t “clogged” per se, excessive leaves and dirt can cause water to back up, exposing the roof, siding and trim to potential damage. Cleaning out the gutters also eliminates a hiding and mating refuge for multiple types of crawling pests. If you’re feeling especially proactive, consider a gutter protection system that allows water to flow in freely while blocking out dirt and debris. It will make your job a whole lot easier next year.
4. Caulk around windows and doors
If you can see light around the edges of your windows or doors, it’s time to pull out the caulking gun. Even small gaps let cold air in while allowing the air you paid to heat rush right outside. Standard silicone caulking works great for exterior use. For larger gaps around doors, use weather stripping. Ask the folks at your local hardware store to give you a few pointers. Weather stripping always seems to end up a harder project than it should be.
5. Sweep out the chimney
There’s nothing like a nice warm fire on a cool fall night. Of course, you’d probably prefer that fire not engulf the entire home. You’d probably also prefer not to have plumes of carbon monoxide back up into the house. Before you even consider using your fireplace for the first time this season, hire a chimney sweep to come in, check out your vents and clean out the chimney if necessary. Inspections are generally around $100 and cleanings will likely run $200-300, a worthwhile investment for a worry-free fall.
About the Author
Damion Keller is a husband and homeowner who enjoys writing about everything from family life to home maintenance. In his free time, he enjoys traveling, reading and watching sports on TV.