Fall is the perfect time for you to take care of the little things that can make a big difference for you and your home. If you work on these tasks now, you can save yourself a lot of time and headache before the shorter days, ice, and snow of winter make the work too difficult. Follow along to start making your fall home checklist.
Gutters drain and divert thousands of gallons of water annually from your house's exterior and foundation wall, which is why it is so important to keep the system flowing smoothly! Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces as well as water seeping into your basement. Before the leaves start falling, clean your gutters and check for rust and corrosion. As a tip, we suggest trying to cover the troughs with mesh guards in order to keep debris from returning.
While you're up there tending to the gutters, be sure to scope out how your roof is doing. Start by inspecting your roof from top to bottom, checking ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage. Then scan the roof for missing, curled, or damaged shingles. If you feel more comfortable on the ground, use binoculars to look for damage to the metal flashing around vents and chimneys. As you're going through your gutters, keep an eye out for large accumulations of granules. This is a sign that your roof is losing its coating and means you will have to get it fixed in order to avoid bigger problems.
Damaged walkways, driveways, and steps are a hazard year round; however, their dangers can become much worse when the weather turns icy! Fixing any problems in the fall is critical to preventing any little issues from becoming expensive headaches later on. Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on outdoor steps. Disintegration of asphalt and washed-out materials on loose-fill paths are small jobs that are well within the ability of a hands-on homeowner, however save any major repairs you find for experienced hands.
A home with air leaks around windows and doors can account for a 10% of a home's heating bill. If you suspect a problem with your weather-stripping, you have several options for checking. Close a door or window on a strip of paper; if the paper slides through easily, the weather-stripping is not doing its job. Another option is to close the door or window and hold a lighted candle near the frame - being sure to keep anything flammable out of the way! If the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, you have an air leak. While you're at it, be sure to check for missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, and entry points for your electrical, cable, phone, gas, etc. Weather-stripping and caulking are easily the most cost-effective way to reign in any heating or cooling costs for your home, reducing drafts and keeping your space comfortable year-round.
Furnaces need a lot of love around this time of year. Be sure to check your furnace filters for dust and debris that could clog the air intake. Clogged filters make it harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and can seriously increase your utility bills. In fact, it's best to keep this practice all year long; giving the filters a monthly cleaning. If you have disposable filters, you can vacuum them once before they need to be replaced. Foam filters can also be vacuumed with a soft brush attachment, but don't need to be replaced unless they are damaged. If the filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.
It is also a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional at this time. As a tip, we recommend avoiding the last-minute rush by scheduling this task early in the fall, before the heating season begins. If you hear any noisy belts, suspect poor performance, and erratic behaviour from your furnace you should call in a professional right away!
With fall underway it's time to tackle a few simple chores that'll make winter more pleasant and prevent some nasty surprises next spring. Tick these 5 items off your list and you can rest easy knowing that your home is ready for winter. Be sure to follow Marina Homes on Facebook in order to keep up with our blogs and stay up-to-date with our communities.