Winter weather is upon us. Is your home ready for the cold?
Updated: Nov 30, 2020
Being a home owner means that almost every weekend, when not enjoying time with your friends and family, you are performing some sort of repair or maintaining an item that doesn't work as expected. Ahh, the joys of home ownership! It is very important for the overall life expectancy of your home to perform scheduled maintenance as needed.
Here is a short list of items that should be done every fall.
Beautiful fall colors in Atlanta. Get out and see them! Well, after you perform the needed fall repairs on your home.
#1. Clean the leaves and debris from your gutters. It is also recommended that any limbs overhanging your home or are too close to the siding be trimmed away. Trimming the trees will help to prevent additional leaves from falling onto the roof and ultimately ending up in your gutters. Cleaning the debris will help to allow for water to properly drain away from the perimeter of the home. This helps to prevent the gutters from overflowing, which can lead to moisture damage to the trim and will help to prevent earth erosion around the foundation of the home. What does prolonged erosion create? Water entry into the Basement or Crawlspace and potentially settlement of the home. Both really bad.
Yes, it's time to clean the gutters! Don't allow it to get this bad. It is also recommended that bushes be trimmed back so they
If you are not comfortable on a ladder, hire a contractor to do it are at least 18" away from the siding and trim. Trees should
for you. Low cost and peace of mind. Put this on your calendar be trimmed so they do not overhang the home.
for late November.
#2. Seal any open cracks and joints in both the siding and trim. Caulk gaps between the windows and trim and also between exterior doors and their trim components. Open joints and gaps will allow for water to enter into the structure, causing wood rot.
It is imperative to prevent water from entering into your home.
Sealing any open gaps between window trim and siding, as well
as between doors and their trim is important and very easy.
Using a caulk that remains flexible and can be painted is best.
#3. Check your Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide detectors. Check their batteries and the expiration dates. - Please remember that Smoke Detectors are typically good for about 10 years while Carbon Monoxide detectors are good for 6. If in doubt, replace them. this is a great time to also check your Fire Extinguisher gauge and expiration tag. Don;'t have an extinguisher? Gulp. Time to purchase one or two. Conveniently place one in the Kitchen for dinner fire emergencies and also place one in the Garage. Okay, but one more. That one should be placed near the furnace and water heater mechanical area.
Please remember that smoke alarms cannot be painted over!
#4. Winterize your water hose bibs and sprinkler system. Turn the water supply off to your exterior hose bib (which is usually located in the basement / crawlspace, or under one of the vanity sinks) and then open the bib. This will drain any water out of the spigot itself. Disconnect and drain your garden hoses. It's a real easy to forget this little step. If you do, a new may be needed in the spring. Next winterize your sprinkler system. Remember that to properly winterize your sprinkler system, all of the water in the lines and heads will need to be removed with air pressure generated by an air compressor. If you are not comfortable with blowing out the lines, have a professional do it. If water is not removed from the lines and the temperature drops below freezing, the lines will most likely become damaged. The trick and cost is finding out where the damage occurred!
A very frozen hose bib. When the exterior portion of the bib
freezes, it will typically cause an interior portion of the piping
also fail. That's where the water damage begins.
#5. Clean your chimney / fireplace and seal any open gaps and joints between bricks and/or firebox panels. This is a biggie. Creosote and soot build up in your chimney and firebox could ignite and cause an uncontrollable chimney fire. An easy way to tell if you need a cleaning is to take your fireplace log poker tool and to scrap its point on the side of the chimney flue / liner. If it shows an 1/8" or more buildup, its time to clean. If you have never had your chimney cleaned, it definitely time. Expect to pay around $300 for a professional cleaning. After the initial, it is recommended that your chimney be cleaned after every 50 burnings or so, depending on the type of wood you burn. If you burn mostly green (wet) logs, have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 50 burns. If you see moisture bubbling out the ends of the logs when they’re burning, the wood is wet. This green wood doesn’t burn cleanly and sends a lot of unburned particles (smoke) up the chimney, where they build up as creosote and soot. Dry hardwoods, such as oak and birch, burn hotter and cleaner. With them, have your chimney cleaned or inspected every 70 burns.
Anyone know a good Chimney Sweep? To prevent the possibility of chimney fires, cleaning professionally cleaning the flue piping will be require.
#6. Change your furnace fresh air filters. If your filters are no longer "fresh", its time for a change. In fact, they should be changed on a quarterly basis. Clean filters help to remove dirt, dust and pollen particles. To help remove smaller particles, it is recommended that pleated filters be used. Pleated filters have a greater surface area and can remove many more particles. Dirty filters prevent proper air flow through your HVAC system and can cause your blower motor to wear prematurely. If you are not a hands on type of person, I typically recommended purchasing a service agreement from your local HVAC contractor. They will service your furnace and air conditioning systems and will also change the filters.
For those of you who have very old homes, don't forget to clean
out the floor mounted filter enclosures. Gross!
#7. Clean out your dryer vent. Not just the visible portion that is located behind your dryer, but the sections in the walls, ceilings, floor. Your dryer has the potential to overheat and cause a fire should air not be able to pass through the vent piping.
Can't get much more clogged than this! This is a significant fire
#8. Close your crawl space vents when the weather starts to cool off. This will stop any cold air flow from entering into your crawl space where most of your plumbing lines are located.
#9. Evaluate your crawlspace for exposed plumbing lines near foundation vents. If a plumbing line is close enough to a vent it is wise to put insulation behind that vent to prevent the cold temperature from reaching the pipe.
#10. Make sure your furnace is working properly. Your house temperatures will drop quickly if your furnace isn’t working, increasing your risk of frozen pipes. Most heating companies are extremely busy in the winter and will not be able to respond immediately to a broken furnace. If your furnace is working correctly then you can feel safe leaving your home during the day.
#11. Don’t leave your garage door up. Many of us are used to keeping our garage door open, however, this is where your hot water heater, well pump, and other plumbing and heating appliances are located. An open door is an invitation for cold air to enter and freeze these more quickly.
There is nothing better than the freedom in having your own home and having the needed space to roam. As home ownership is an investment, much care must be taken to care for your home and property. Go fix something today.