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The Essentials for Preparing Your Home for the Changing Seasons
Dated: October 9 2020
Fall and winter are just around the corner. For homeowners, now is the time to make sure you’re ready for the colder seasons by performing maintenance on your house, lawn, and garage. With the uncertainty of what this fall and winter will be like because of COVID-19, it’s especially important to be prepared for dropping temperatures.
Make sure that the exterior of your home is in good shape. This includes checking the foundation for cracks and sealing those areas to prevent heat from escaping. The good news is that caulking and sealing openings are some of the least expensive maintenance jobs. As Michael Hydeck of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry (NARI) points out, “A careful check of the outside structure combined with inexpensive maintenance can save you money in the long run.” Inspect your driveway for cracks and clean out and repair any damage with driveway filler before applying a coat of commercial sealer.
Don’t forget about your roof! Jay Butch, Director of Contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing says, “Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.” He adds, “For safety’s sake, have a licensed, certified roofing professional check the condition of your roof.”
After leaves have fallen, it’s a good idea to clean out your gutters and downspouts, flush with water, inspect the joints, and tighten brackets, as clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams.
Gardening enthusiasts will already be familiar with the task of draining garden hoses and storing them inside, but shutting off outdoor water valves is important, too. Water left in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand, thus breaking the pipes. Fertilize your lawn now with a high phosphorous mix to ensure that you’ll be able to look forward to healthy grass once winter ends. This kind of preparation includes clearing leaves from the lawn, reseeding patchy areas, and planting spring-flowering bulbs. Don’t forget to empty soil from pots and planters as dirt left in outdoor clay pots will freeze and cause them to crack. Deer-proof your lawn by covering plants with netting and chicken wire and make sure that you continue to feed birds through the winter by filling their feeders.
Other items on your to-do list could include organizing your garage, cleaning and storing your summer gardening tools and barbecues, and draining fuel from gas-operated equipment like lawnmowers, leaf blowers, and chainsaws. Speaking of equipment, ensure that your snow equipment is up and running before the first set of flurries arrives. Place your shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers in a place where you can easily access them. Weather-stripping your garage door, especially if you store equipment in there, is another thing to consider.
The interior of your home will also require attention.“Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill,” says Katie Cody, spokeswoman for Lowe’s. “Air leaks from windows and doors are easy to find by moving your hand around the frame.”
Having a licensed contractor inspect your heating system is a good idea since properly serviced systems will use fuel more efficiently. Examine your woodstove and fireplace as well. “A clogged chimney poses the risk of a chimney fire, which can be ignited by burning creosote—a combination of wood tar, organic vapors, and moisture buildup,” says Gary Webster, Creative Director of Travis Industries. Changing the direction of your ceiling fan can create an upward draft and redistribute warm air from the ceiling.
Now is a great time to change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. If you use humidifiers regularly, be sure to check them frequently as bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank. This means unclean moisture will mist into your house.
Finally, inspect the supports, stairs, and railings on porches and decks. If someone slips on snow or ice, the handrails should be able to support them. Cleaning and storing porch and deck furniture and looking for needed repairs is another good way to prepare for the spring.
At Bosley, it’s more than just a house - it’s your home. From our home to yours, have a safe, happy, and warm fall and winter!