Prepping Your Home For Winter, In The Fall

Prepping Your Home For Winter

Alright, maybe summer is beginning to disappear. It’s never too early to prepare for the colder months ahead. On second thought, we suppose it could be, but autumn is the perfect time to tackle those jobs you’ve been putting off. Procrastination is never the solution, but everyone gets busy, especially once the school year ramps up again. A fall home checklist can appear bottomless and anything that’s overwhelming is often ignored. To prevent that from happening, we’ll keep these home hotspots short and sweet, so you can get back to watching football with family and friends!

There are two essential areas you’ll want to concentrate on this fall:

Heat

You need heat to cook those burgers and dogs at a tailgate party, as you watch linebackers bring it on opposing quarterbacks, but attention should likewise be directed toward your heating systems as cold weather approaches. You’ll want to have your fireplace(s) serviced, particularly if it’s wood-burning. Have a certified chimney inspector evaluate and clean your fireplace/stove(s) and chimney(s) throughout your entire home. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA), each year in the home, there are close to 18,000 fires caused by wood-burning appliances in addition to almost 1,500 injuries and multiple casualties due to home heating equipment fires. These are preventable. It’s important to hire a reliable chimney service to assure there are no defects such as a cracked flue liner nor a build-up of creosote and soot.

Gas fireplaces and furnaces should be evaluated yearly to ensure there’s proper venting and they’re operating well. One of the biggest mistakes a homeowner can make is failing to run their heating system until it’s so cold that it’s needed to keep everyone warm. Be proactive, so you’re not at the mercy of an HVAC repair person when the temperatures drop, your furnace is in need of rehabilitation and they have a long list of customers to attend to prior to your appointment.

If time permits, the homeowner should check the exterior seals around window frames and doors to make certain heat isn’t escaping from inside their home.

Water

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again, water is the root of all evil when it comes to your dwelling or housing investments. Water has the potential to wreak havoc in your home and if you’re not cautious seemingly smaller issues can become big ones overnight. The two main areas you’ll want to give attention to are the roof and the foundation. Snow, rain and ice can penetrate your home through any vulnerable surface on the roof (i.e. missing or compromised shingles) or cracks in the foundation. Ice-wedging might too become a headache for some, but generally speaking looking for visible signs of damage is a critical first step. If you find any troublesome spots after you perform a site survey, make sure to contact a qualified professional who can mend the roof or foundation. If there’s extra time, you can inspect the grading around the premises to confirm water isn’t collecting near its foundation.

Downspouts and gutters should still be examined to ensure debris isn’t collecting, impeding water from the roof in any way. As previously mentioned, it’s imperative that water flows away from the house. Debris may or may not be found in the property’s gutters and this varies widely on the number and size of deciduous trees surrounding the home. Obviously, you or a professional gutter cleaner should patiently wait until a majority of the leaves have fallen from the trees.

Close any shut-off valves from inside the home, which attend to outside plumbing. Drain those lines. Turn off exterior spigots, drain/store all hoses that were being used and winterize piping exposed to the winter elements.

Check for any gaps about the home, notably those around pipes, where water may enter the property causing structural damage or the potential for mold.

 

There are numerous other things you can accomplish as you prep for the changing seasons, such as changing or cleaning your furnace filter, replacing the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, reviewing with your family your emergency procedures, clearing your home of clutter, giving your hardwoods and carpeting a thorough, deep clean… the list goes on and on. Again, we wanted to keep it concise, focusing on heat and water.

Winter is coming! It’s not a stretch to say these tips are a Song of Ice and Fire. We have faith you can address these areas for the chillier months ahead. Sooner than later it will be time to bundle up and get your house in order – at least we hope in more order than King Viserys’ house is.

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