School has started, the nights are getting longer and the morning air is becoming more brisk. Now is the time to start transitioning your home from summer to fall. A little prevention now can prevent a major repair later. That’s why we’re here to help with our home maintenance checklist.
Have Your Heating System Serviced
Even if it’s humming along just fine, having a technician take it apart once a year to clean the lines and filters and give it a thorough inspection is absolutely essential. Regular servicing reduces the risk of breakdowns and prolongs the unit’s life. Plus, it saves you money: For every year of maintenance you skip, energy bills jump 5% to 10% because of reduced efficiency. If you want more tips on servicing your machine and ways you can increase it's efficiency Click Here.
Add Weather Stripping to Doors and Windows
If the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements.
Check the condition of your insulation and patch in holes or thin areas before the cold starts to creep in. If your walls aren’t insulated consider hiring a professional to install it. The money you’ll save heating your home in the winter can help offset the cost of the installation.
Clean and Inspect the Inside of Your Chimney and Fireplace
A wood stove or fireplace that is improperly cared for may start a fire where you don’t want one. Accidental fires caused by chimneys and fireplaces are most often due to lack of maintenance and care. Scraping the inside of the chimney flue with a fire poker or even a small screwdriver helps gauge the buildup of residue. If the residue coating the inside is paper thin, your chimney does not require cleaning. If the layer depth approaches 1/8 inch your chimney needs cleaning and you should contact a professional.
Find and Fix Cracked Concrete
Cracks in your driveway, walkway, or steps are a big-time trip hazard, and they'll only get worse if water seeps in and freezes. All it takes is some simple caulking. Make sure you clean the cracks with a pressure washer or house and allow them to dry before. For cracks less than a half-inch wide, squeeze a bead of acrylic latex concrete repair compound deep into the crack, smoothing excess with a putty knife. For larger cracks, trowel on a vinyl concrete patching compound, and let it cure.
Replace Outdoor Lights
Shorter days mean you need outdoor lights to find your way home without tripping. So take this opportunity to swap burned-out incandescent bulbs for LED bulbs, which screw right into your existing fixtures. LEDs are more durable and use 75 percent less energy than incandescents. They can also last 22 years or more.
Flush the Water Heater
Sediment build-up displaces water and prevents the heater from operating at full capacity. By flushing the tank once a year, usually before winter, you won't be wasting cash by heating the built up gunk inside. Click here to learn how to drain your water heater
Test Your Sump Pump
Your sump pump is an appliance that you can’t afford to have fail. Make sure it is in working order by slowly pouring several gallons of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one. For more complete instructions for testing and maintenance, check your owner’s manual.
By Brian Geick