The Suburban Fall Maintenance Survival Guide – 8 Tips
Newer homes need love too – make sure you check on the following before the snow starts to fly:
I’m surprised that most fall maintenance lists don’t include this one. Your furnace likely has a humidifier attached to it – and the setting control is usually on the furnace as well. It is pretty easy to open up a humidifier to make sure that it is getting water and working. You will want it on when things get cold and dry – however knowing how to turn it down is just as important. Newer homes are nicely sealed against the elements which is great for efficiency. However, if you are on vacation and your humidifier is on full you will risk having too much humidity build up in the home which will lead to condensation or freezing on the windows. Change the furnace filter while you are down there.
Shut off your outdoor taps from inside the home – even if you have a finished basement the shut-off should be easy to find. When the water supply is shut off you can turn the tap on just to let any water out. Drain the hose and bring those plastic sprayers inside (they probably won’t survive the cold). Most outdoor taps are ‘freeze-proof’ now but you usually can’t be sure that the builder went with a tap made for the cold. Not worth the risk either way.
Clean Out Rain Gutters
You can do this job yourself, or hire someone to do it for you, but this is an essential chore to perform each fall. While you don’t have to deal with rain in the Winter having clear gutters will help prevent ice-damming.
Check the Roof
Another reason to buy a ladder and take care of the gutters yourself – while you are up on that ladder, take time to inspect your roof. Problems like damaged shingles and worn-out seals around vent pipes and chimneys are much easier to remedy if you catch them early. Even new shingles can be damaged by some of the wind gusts suburban homes commonly experience.
Seal Gaps and check your weather stripping around the home
Take a close look around the exterior of your home and cover any and all gaps you find. Use caulk to seal small gaps near the foundation of your home, or around windows. Check for cracked or worn stripping, and replace with new, more efficient stripping. If caulking is looking worn and ragged, remove it and re-caulk with an efficient, moisture-resistant product. Your home’s efficiency depends on this one which is why it is on every fall maintenance list. Don’t forget – the inside of your garage needs to be inspected as well, for heat loss and to seal out carbon monoxide!
Look for Defects
Whether you are in the first two years of your Tarion Warranty or not you will want to check your siding and foundation before Winter. When you look at your siding (particularly vinyl siding) you’re checking for cracks that may have been cause by shovels or other objects that may be or may have been leaning up against the side of the home. You would also be looking to see if the siding joints are still locked together – it is not un common to find that a siding plank has let go and typically it is very high up and hard to get at because that’s life. Check your foundation for settling cracks. Cracks have to be a certain size before the builder will do anything about them but you should pay special attention to cracks around basement windows as the movement may affect the window frame itself.
Take Care of Patio Furniture
Whether you decide to store patio furniture away for the winter or simply cover it for the season, take the time to give the patio set a quick cleaning. Glass tables can break under the weight of the snow and ice if they are left out – and treated wood will age/fade significantly over just one Winter.
Clean/Seal/Stain your Deck
Wondering what the perfect time to take care of the deck is? Late September. You’ll want to beat the frost but September gives you plenty of dry days, you won’t be fighting the leaves and you will have temperatures that will allow stains/sealers to set into the wood.
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