The first chill of fall is already in the air as the trees start shedding their summer clothes. But besides being incredibly poetic, the fall season is also a reminder that winter is a few months away. For some, this means food preparations (pickles and meats for the winter) and maybe some wardrobe checks. However, all homeowners know that fall means house maintenance and reparations, to make sure everything will go smoothly when the snow is thick outside.
If you’re new to this fall maintenance thing, we put together a five-step guide to help you through.
#1: Check the Water Heating Installation
Most heating systems use water to keep the house warm and toasty while outside the winter is taking over. And, the heart of any heating installation, there is the water heater – a complex system that needs constant care and maintenance as it ages. So, to make sure you won’t run out of heat in the middle of winter, check for any signs of trouble. For instance, a water heater leaking from the top can cause water damage, but it can also reduce the efficiency of your system. If this is left unchecked, you may end up with huge utility bills and a cold house.
#2: Doors & Windows
To increase the efficiency of the heating system, check for any gaps in the frame or structure of your doors and windows. If there is a draft, this creates room for cold air to get inside, which can create uncomfortable situations. Use weatherstripping or caulk to seal the frame and keep the winter outside, where it belongs. If this doesn’t help, you should consider replacing the problematic windows and doors. This way, you won’t have to add extra layers to your winter bedroom bedding.
#3: Check the Drainage Systems
Start from the top down and inspect the gutters (they should be free of debris, leaves, or cracks), the pipes, and the main drainage. All the filters should be new or fairly new, to get you through the winter. Also, make sure the water doesn’t pool around the foundation of the house. If the soil has settled, it can create lower areas that encourage water to sit in puddles, which can then saturate the soil. When this happens, the foundation will get affected when the temperatures get below zero, and the water in the soil freezes. Overall, it’s important to make sure that all the water is driven away from the house.
#4: Check Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Winter is the season when we use heating systems to keep the inside warmer than the outside. Sadly, this also means there is also an increase in fires and carbon monoxide poisonings caused by improperly maintained heating systems. In fact, the U.S. Fire Administration released a statement saying that heating systems are the cause of around 27% of fires during winter. So, to make sure your home is prepared for the worst, check the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. This implies changing the batteries and testing if they work properly.
#5: Clean the Chimney & the Fireplace
The fireplace is a fantastic addition to any home and it’s the ideal location in the house to gather around with the family and sip hot chocolate. Even more, that’s the ideal landing place for Santa, when he brings the gifts! However, if you intend to use it for heating or even light a fire, it’s best to make sure both the fireplace and the chimney are clean and functional. When you’re not using the chimney (during the spring, summer, and fall), there is the risk of birds making nests inside. Also, spiderwebs can gather dust and debris or other critters can clog it with their food storage for winter. If this is the case, the chimney and fireplace are not safe to be used for heating. So, before the first snow, ask a specialist to perform a check.
The home is our sanctum sanctorum, the temple where we enjoy happy moments with the family, raise our children, and learn to relax and embrace life. But it’s also the one place where we can let our guard down and feel safe. However, in order to provide you with all of these, a house also needs love and care. So, make sure that every season, you provide it with the right services and repairs.