This year has been like no other. The pandemic has had many of us staying close to home this spring and summer. Some have used this time to focus on projects they’ve been wanting to do for a while. Others have started a new hobby, like gardening. In either case, we’ve had a little more time to plan our lives and activities. Now that Fall is on our doorstep, we should give some thought to those activities which are best done at this time of year.
As temperatures turn cooler, it is the perfect opportunity to review our homes ability to shelter us from the upcoming winter months. A quick walk around the house will help uncover areas in need of a little TLC. So grab pen and paper. And let’s take a few Steps For Today.
- Furnace Checkup – Your furnace is your main line of defense against winter cold. Changing its filter regularly help it from working harder than it should to warm your home. It’s also a good idea to have it inspected yearly. The combustion chamber of an oil or gas furnace expands and contracts every time it ignites. Meaning that after time, it can crack from fatigue. A damaged gas or oil furnace can emit carbon monoxide (CO); an odorless deadly gas.
- Smoke and CO detectors – it’s a great idea to change smoke and CO detector batteries in the fall, when daylight savings time changes. And if you don’t have CO detectors near your oil or gas furnace, you should definitely add them to your list of things to do.
- Windows and Doors – Air loss, through gaps in the seals around windows and doors, is a major factor in keeping your heating bills as low as possible. While walking through your home, take note of any windows or doors that just are sealing well. Also note any cracked or lose panes. Whether fixing the old, or replacing it with new, it’s much better to address these when the weather is still warm enough to remove them. If ordering new windows, be aware that there can be a significant lead-time on their delivery and/or install. It’s best to get the process started early as possible.
- Insulation – While you’re at it. You may as well take a peek in the attic to see if there’s insulation up there. Chances are good that there is. But you never know.
- Home Exterior – Taking a look outside, be sure to give your homes exterior a thorough inspection. Look for loose or damaged siding, trim, soffit, and facia. It’s certainly easier to address these concerns before real cold sets in. Working on vinyl siding in the cold, when it can crack, is less than ideal.
- House washing – Summer months can lead to dirt and mold (usually on the north side) on your home’s exterior. A hose and long brush can remove most of this. If using a power washer, be sure to check it’s spray power from a distance before moving to close and possibly blowing parts off your home.
- Outdoor spigots – Take a look at your outdoor hose spigots. Leaking spigots can freeze and rupture pipes inside the home. Sometimes spigots just need a new set of washers. Sometimes they need a replacement. A good local hardware store may be able to tell you if they sell a washer replacement just by looking at a close-up picture of the spigot handle. If you need a replacement, search the internet for ‘replacing a hose bibb’ video. It may be easier than you think. And, of course, your local plumber can make short work of such things.
- Deck care – Now that Labor Day has passed, it’s a good time to consider sealing your deck or patio. Having the supplies on hand for when the weather is just right, will help make the process easier.
- Gutters – Look for signs that gutters are overflowing. This is usually caused by foul-smelling gunk in the gutter or downspout. Stopped up gutters usually lead to water or ice problems in the winter or spring. Cleaning them early and late in the fall will help avoid associated problems.
I’m sure I’ve missed a few things that should on this list. I’ll probably cover yard care in my next post. What are some of the important (or not-so-important) tasks I might add?
As always, thanks for reading.
And remember to take the next step…