Fall is here, so winter will soon be on its way. The leaves change colors, the air is fantastic, and you can finally break out of your sweaters. This means that the colder months are the perfect time to get your home in tip-top shape before any big winter storms come your way! It’s also a great time to do some fall home maintenance to prepare for winter. You don’t want to worry about leaky pipes, exposed wires, or drafty windows while you try to battle the elements. The following is a list of tasks you can complete this season for a comfortable and safe home all winter long.
The landscape is one task that goes in the fall home inspection checklist. Fall is a great time to do some fall landscaping and yard work. This includes mowing the lawn, trimming bushes, and even getting out the rakes to remove fallen leaves. Mowing your lawn and gardening can help reduce the need for heating your home in the winter! If you do some of your fall landscaping while it’s still warm outside, this will leave less work to be done later in the year.
Mulching, fertilizing, and leaf pickup are some tasks that you can do now to help preserve your lawn, home, and property all winter long. Weeds need to be pulled from the yard, and fall is a great time to do it. Cut the grass to the correct height and then rake and bag the clippings. After that, fertilize the lawn. Lawn fertilization is an essential part of managing it properly throughout the year, but it is imperative during the fall.
Your fall home inspection checklist should contain checking of the heating system as one of the tasks. As the temperatures drop, you’ll need to be aware of your home’s heating systems. Check all heating vents to ensure that they are clean and functioning correctly. Fix any leaks or cracks in the HVAC system. How’s the power system? Do you have a problem with power outrage? Think of a home solar. They can be helpful when the power goes off. Keep an eye out for any leaks and make sure your furnace is in good working condition. Check the thermostat and make sure it’s at the right temperature.
You also want to ensure that any outside heaters are up to code and free of carbon monoxide or other dangerous chemicals. If you have ductwork, get rid of any fluff that might linger in your ducts. You can buy duct cleaner at the hardware store and clean out any areas you haven’t seen. You’ll also want to change the filter on your heating system to ensure that it’s working at its peak efficiency. And if you find it challenging, contact the HVAC Company near you.
Windows and Doors
Bring in the New Year with your home’s windows and door as one of the fall home inspection checklist. Cracks and weather wear-and-tear can let the cold air inside, causing a buildup of dirt and humidity in your home. Check all your windows for dents or chips. Replace any in danger of breaking or cracking, as this could let moisture and residential cooling in winter. Repairing any broken screens which may give in to the cold and become an easy way to let light into your home without being able to close the windows. Replace any storm windows that aren’t appropriately weatherized, and insulate any in need of repair. Try sealing up those breaks with some caulking and weather-stripping, then use a scraper to remove any remaining moisture from the gaps and cracks.
A few simple residential plumbing tasks in the fall home inspection checklist can ensure that your home is ready for winter. To make watering your home more convenient, invest in a pressurized irrigation system. You can also use inexpensive drip irrigation kits to water the inside of your home with your hose. Install a long garden hose into a bucket with the sprinkler heads facing downward. Set your sprinklers to the right pressure, and your garden will get a constant drip of water.
If your home has ice from this summer’s heavy storms and it’s thawing, ensure that you have turned off the water supply to the ice. You’ll want to have someone come out and check your pipes to ensure they’re not damaged. If they are, your first step is to turn off the water supply and let it dry out before you begin any repairs. Have someone from your insurance company come out and fix the damage as soon as possible.
Inspect Your Roof
Your roof is a great place to solve potential problems with your heating system. If you notice the shingles are coming off of your roof, it’s time to call a professional. You also want to ensure that all the leaks you see are on your home’s exterior side. You can try to fix these leaks yourself, but if you don’t know what you are doing you could make your home more likely to flood if you interfere with the roofing.
As one of the fall home inspection checklist tasks, ensure your roof has adequate coverings. Make sure you have proper access to your roof when repairs are needed. It’s also important to ensure your gutters are in good condition and there are no gaps where cold air may enter your home. Some areas of your home, such as attics, chimneys, decks, and outside walls, may require professional roofing company inspection before repairs are done.
Protect Faucets From Freezing Temperatures
In cold weather, it’s vital to protect all exterior water fixtures, including water faucets. While preparing the fall home inspection checklist, ensure the protection of the faucets. If there is a temperature drop below freezing point, it causes them to lose their hydraulic pressure. This forces water to flow in the wrong direction. Ensure there is enough water, and if not, consider water well drilling as the alternative. If your faucets freeze, turn them off immediately.
Grab a heat gun or braid rags, wrap them around the faucet, and warm them up with a hairdryer. Then, put the rags in the freezer and pull them out once they’re defrosted. It’s best to place them in a dry, warm place until the heat dries them. If you can, blow out any debris that has collected under your sink. If you live in an area where frozen pipes are a concern, contact your local plumber to install a quick fix to prevent pipes from freezing.
Prevent Gas Problems
If your HVAC system is not in top shape, it can create cold spots in the house and even keep your pipes from warming up enough to keep them from freezing. This will cause your pipes to burst, and you could even lose your home to a burst pipe. The first step to fixing a problem is to start the gas leak detection system by turning the gas valve into the ‘test’ setting.
If your furnace is old and you have a wood-burning fireplace, you’re at a higher risk of a gas leak. Installing a gas furnace is the most cost-effective way to stay warm during the winter. Still, if you have older gas appliances, you could face severe consequences if they catch on fire.
Keep the Humidifier Running
Keeping the humidifier is a must include the task in the fall home inspection checklist. Whether you use a regular humidifier or an energy-efficient reverse-cycle unit, keep it running throughout the day. Humidifiers are beneficial in the winter since they help provide essential moisture and dew points in the air. Using a humidifier during the winter will reduce the risk of condensation in the home, which can cause mold to grow in your walls and carpet. Therefore, they should never miss the fall home inspection checklist.
A residential electrician suggests you keep your humidifier running all season long. Humidity is an essential element for controlling the indoor environment. When the humidity is low, the temperature in your home will drop, and the air will be dryer. You can make your humidifier more efficient by adding activated charcoal. Activated charcoal has been shown to absorb toxins in the air. Be sure to clean your humidifier every 30 days by removing any visible dirt or mold from the tank.
It’s so easy to trip over the uneven walkways in the winter. Many people do nothing about it. Others don’t even know where they are because they walk over them every day. Even if you have concrete, stone, or asphalt walkways, they will still need to be maintained and patched.
If you have a damaged walkway, it can be hazardous for everyone using it, especially for a pet that may stay on the path. Make sure the edges of the walkway are smooth and the grass is maintained. Protect your turf by removing dead branches and leaves and using wood chips or bark mulch to seal up the holes in the walkway. Taking a few minutes this fall to look over them and patch any areas showing wear and tear can prevent some falls in the wintertime.
Touch Up Exterior Paint
During the warmer months, the sun is shining, and the bugs are away. There are no pests or dirt on your home or belongings to ruin your paintwork. The exterior of your home could use some TLC during the fall so that the paint can stay bright and fresh. This means it’s a great time to touch up any chipped paint and clean any spider webs off the eaves. This is also the perfect time to apply an exterminator or a fresh coat of sealant to make your home more waterproof.
You don’t have to go overboard with this and touch up the exterior of your home. However, look for existing spots that could use a fresh coat or other significant issues such as loose shingles or cracks in your siding.
Clean Your Gutters
You wouldn’t park your car on your lawn without cleaning the grass first, would you? So why leave your gutters untouched? Let your fall home inspection checklist include gutter cleaning as one task on the list. Gutters and downspouts are part of your home’s foundation. So they must be kept clean and watertight all winter long. Take the time to clean the gutters of your home, and you’ll be able to keep water from getting into your home. Sometimes one might find it dangerous to clear gutters with insects. If this is the case, consider looking for a pest control service.
If gutters are filled with leaves, pollen, or other debris, water can pool and freeze, causing leaks. Having clean gutters will make your home more weatherproof and stop a cold or mildewed environment from settling in around the drain. The best way to clean the gutters is by using a ladder and a manual tool called a gutter rake. A rake is essentially a long-handled tool with sharp blades on end, and you can clean out the gutter entirely by using it.
Clear Steam Radiator Vents
You know how you get out of your house when it’s scorching outside, only to walk outside and feel a blast of frigid air on your face because there is steam coming from your radiators? Well, unless you have a stack of hot air, it’s easy for steam to build up in your home’s radiators during the colder months and then not realize there is anything wrong. As the water in your system expands, it is sometimes directed to the radiators as well. Leaving the system open allows the steam to get too hot, which can cause your pipes to burst if left unattended. However, if you’re concerned that a leak could damage your pipes or structure, closing your radiators could keep that from happening.
Fall Home Inspection Checklist
A safe and warm home is one of the most important things you can do for your family during the fall and winter months. Now is the time to check up on your home and get it in tip-top shape before the cold weather hits! If you’re ready to take control of your home and make sure it’s prepared for winter, these tips can help you prepare before you even take a step outside.