With the shorter days come cooler temps and lower humidity (usually) Fall is a great time to take care of home repair projects before the weather forces all of us to begin our winter hibernation. Some of these projects may also help you to keep more of those hard earned dollars in your pocket. Here is a short list (lucky 13) of things to look at.
Make exterior repairs list. A slow walk around your property can help you see things that got lost in the daily grind. Touch the trim, wiggle things, look for stains. If you can’t identify the what or how consult with an expert. Get these things addressed before winter hits. The cold usually has little trouble finding the weakest link and exposing it in a not so gentle fashion
Care for trees and shrubs. Fall is an excellent time of year to prune or plant. If you are not experienced with pruning and thinning you should consider talking with or hiring a professional. They can perform the correct cuts to thin and prepare your plants for the winter and a healthy “next year” Fall planting of shrubs and trees can help to reduce the stress that occurs from summer heat.
Rake leaves. Leaves look beautiful but leaving a blanket of them on your lawn can result in damage as well as retarding new spring growth. A good pair of gloves, broom rake and some bags can be just the tools for a great fall afternoon workout in the yard. Check to see if your city has a compost site for disposal. When we lived in the country we used the bagged leaves to cover our sewer system to prevent freezing
Clean gutters and downspouts. Through out the year things will find their way into your gutters and down spouts. The grit from your shingles washes in and creates restrictions for the water. It can be a dirty job but it is critical to keep water from snow melt and downpours from creating bigger problems inside your home. Every home inspector report I’ve ever read said “move the water away from the house” Clogged gutters and downspout won’t do that!
Any critter gaps? As the season begins to change all sorts of creatures that don’t migrate will be looking for a place to spend the winter. A mouse can fit into the tinniest gap. The same is true of many creepy crawling things that are supposed to be inside your home. A little caulk, spray foam and steel wool can block the passages. Some repairs are as easy as tightening up a screw or reattaching some trim. Oh yeah, you never have ONE MOUSE!
Walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety.When the landscape is covered in ice and snow, just walking from the driveway to the front door can be quite a challenge. Make navigating around your home safer by checking that all stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling.
Stock up on winter supplies.Living in a region with cold, snowy winters brings it own challenges. You can probably see from this information, preparation is the key.
-Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt, if needed
-Check all the hand tools for serviceability. Handles in tact, blade sharp and secure
-If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel
Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses.Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. For those homes equipped with a winter exterior faucet (frost free sillcock) leaving the hose connected traps water in the faucet. It will appear that nothing is wrong until you attempt to turn the water on in the spring. Trust me this is not an experience yo want to have. Remove the hose!
Weatherstripping.Weatherstripping is a fairly easy DIY project that can actually pay for itself in real dollars (also personal comfort) Door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out.
Check safety devices.
-Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
-Check the expiration date on your fire extinguishers and recharge or replace as needed
-If you haven’t checked your home for radon, fall is a good time to do so — as the weather gets cooler and windows stay shut more often, radon is more likely to become trapped in your home. Radon at high enough levels is extremely harmful, so if you find that your home has high radon levels. I recommend you hire a contractor qualified to test for and remediate if needed. This is not a DIY project
Clean dryer vents. Dryer vents are the leading cause of home fires Its caused by a build up of lint in the pipe which can result in a buildup in dryer vents. Not only can this make your dryer work less efficiently, the excessive heat can result in a fireYou can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.
Conduct an energy audit.A trained auditor can assess your home’s current energy efficiency and give you a list of recommended improvements you can make, which may include upgrading to Energy Star appliances, adding insulation to the attic or beefing up weatherstripping. You can also find instructions for a do-it-yourself energy audit at Energy.gov.
Schedule a chimney cleaning and heating system maintenance. The best time to check and clean your chimney or heating system is when you don’t need it. Making sure your chimney and heating system are cleaned usually results in a more efficient system and improved safety. It really is great peace of mind. One thing that is sometimes overlooked is the chimney cap or roof jack. Having these items properly sealed can stop unwanted water and visitors (see number 5)
With this work done you can curl up on the couch and watch the game. Now where is that remote?
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