A Closer Look: Advice to Prepare Your House for Winter
When it comes to home maintenance, homeowners typically perform different tasks depending on the season.
The winter is usually reserved for those indoor chores such as painting/redecorating, minor repairs/replacement and renovations.
Spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months.
Over the summer, there are a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks to look after, such as repairing walkways and steps, painting and checking your chimney and roof and with fall just about here, now’s the time to get your home ready for the coming winter, which can be the most grueling season for your home.
Here’s a list of some of the more common fall maintenance activities. If you do not feel comfortable performing some of the tasks listed below, or do not have the necessary equipment, for example a ladder, you may want to consider hiring a qualified person.
• Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer.
• For central air conditioning units, if you have a winter cover, use it or place a piece of plywood on top of the unit and either tie or weight it down so it will not blow off in the wind. Putting something over the top of the exterior unit will help prevent damage to the fan blades and cooling fins. In addition, make sure you turn the power off to the unit by either shutting off the breakers or remove the fuses as this will prevent accidental use of the unit while it is covered. Running the central air in cold weather or while it is covered can cause major damage to the unit.
• If you have a natural draft boiler or hot water heating system it must be checked once a year by a qualified heating contractor to ensure it is venting properly
• Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
• Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.
• Clean leaves from eaves troughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
• Ensure the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.
• Check for cracked, loose or missing caulking around windows and doors, and if needed replace it.
• Have chimneys inspected by a WETT Certified Chimney Sweep.
If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.
• Ensure windows and doors close tightly; repair or replace weather-stripping, as needed.
• Replace window screens with storm windows if applicable.
• Clean furnace mounted humidifier, if one is used.
• Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.
• Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).
• Replace or clean furnace air filter according to manufactured recommendations. If you have central air, this filter will need to be changed at regular intervals through out the year.
• Remove grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside ducts.
There’s no question, inspecting the above areas of your home this fall plus performing regular maintenance in other areas on a regular basis throughout the year, will help to protect your home from unexpected damage or costly repairs caused from neglect.
Regardless of the season, when it comes to home maintenance both inside and out, it is important to follow routine maintenance procedures, by checking your home carefully for any problems that may arise and taking corrective action as soon as possible.
Source: American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI); written by Rob Parker.
Please contact RJ Home Inspection to schedule a professional home inspection for your home or business: 800-253-4402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org