It’s time to put away your light clothing as summer has officially ended. With the fall season upon us, it is a wonderful time to embrace new changes, as while the trees may shed their leaves, all of nature would once again wake up once spring comes.
Yet while fall is an exciting concept, with it comes the looming inevitably of winter. Thankfully, before the cold weather fully sets in, every homeowner is given the chance to prepare for it. You can use the fall season to prepare for winter, so when the latter comes, you would be prepared and snug in your cozy house.
Here’s a handy fall home maintenance checklist for you Arizona folks.
Set a good foundation.
Before you tinker with things indoors, make sure that your house is ready for winter. If there are any signs of weaknesses in your exterior, moisture can seep in and damage your walls and foundation.
Avoid this by inspecting your windows, sidings, doors, walls, driveways, and foundation, among others, for cracks and any signs of weakness. Experts say that if the gaps between your door frames or window and siding are already bigger than the width of a nickel, then you need to reseal it. Reseal any cracks you see and reapply caulking as needed. This will save you money from costly repairs come springtime, and would also ensure that your home is as airtight as it can be when it comes to keeping the cold out.
You may be lax about your roof maintenance for the most part of the year, but you will be in for a rough few months if you don’t maintain it properly. Remember that fall can bring in all sorts of debris, such as leaves and whatnots that can all pile onto your roof. There have been numerous instances where roofs have caved in because of the intense amount of weight that is the result of several years of neglect!
What’s more, your roof will keep you protected during winter, and will help keep out the cold weather. As such, have your roof inspected this fall to ensure that it won’t drip all over you when it rains. Clean out your rain gutters and repair or replace any broken, loose, damaged, or missing shingles. While you already have someone up there, have that person check out your chimneys and vent stacks too.
Check out your outdoor plumbing
Outdoor plumbing is a godsend if you are muddy and don’t want to bring it indoors, or when you are washing your cars or cleaning your home’s exterior. Unfortunately, it can become a liability come winter, as burst pipes are among the more common problems of Arizona residents. You need to have your plumbing inspected to ensure that there is no residual water trapped into your pipes, and to reduce the risk of freezing or bursting. You also need to have it inspected so that you can have any broken pipes replaced.
Once you’re sure that there is no residual water and you don’t have broken plumbing, then as a precaution, shut off your water source for your outdoor plumbing. This will then give you peace of mind that your outdoor pipes would be safe from damage during the winter.
Turn the heat on
Your heating system is integral in keeping your home snug and dry during the winter. Your furnace and chimney must be in perfect condition so that it can provide adequate heat during winter. Make sure to have it professionally checked out during the fall so you would have ample time for repairs, if there are any.
A qualified technician should be able to see if your system is in good working condition and that it has achieved maximum efficiency as rated by its manufacturer. Doing so would minimize your carbon-monoxide leakage, which in turn will make your home safer.
Also, here’s a helpful tip: use the “reverse” switch on your ceiling fan to make the blades run in a clockwise direction. This will produce an updraft and push down heated air from the ceiling. If you have high ceilings, this can also reduce your energy consumption as you can turn down your thermostat if warm air is already circulating through the house.
Run a thorough check
Your attic may be the place you stash a lot of unneeded but still wanted items in, but it can also be home to ice dams or icicles. Have a weatherization contractor or a home-energy auditor come into your home to identify and fix inadequate insulation or air leaks. This will help you avoid costly repairs brought about by meltwater, and the inevitable damage it would bring into your house.
Likewise, make sure that you also clean out your gutter of debris, as this can cause water to back up and once again cause leaks and ice dams.
The Bottom line
While winter can wreak havoc into an unsuspecting homeowner’s property, the bottom line is that the amount of damage your home would incur during the winter would be minimal if you routinely maintain your home. For example, you don’t necessarily have to wait for winter to have your foundations checked for cracks.
You should address all these maintenance issues during the fall so that you would be ready when winter comes. Also, most inspectors and service providers are usually backlogged during the season, as there would be many customers who would want their homes serviced. If you dally on your decision to have your home checked, particularly your roof and heating unit, then you could be in for a long wait.