Now that today marks the first official day of Fall, it’s time to talk about some ways to help you prepare your home for the new season. As the leaves begin to turn colors and weather becomes cooler (slowly but surely for those of us in Texas), completing the below check list will help keep your home protected, your electric bill down and keep a little extra cash in your pockets for the holidays!
_____ Check foundation for cracks and caulk around areas where masonry meets siding, pipes or wires enter the house and around windows and door frames.
_____ Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows and doors. Clean screens and spray with protective coating before putting them in storage.
_____ Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.
_____ Check your roof for missing or loose shingles or any weak spots. You’ll want to get these repaired before the fall/winter rains and winter freezes come in.
_____ Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris.
_____ Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways.
_____ If you have a pool, check the cover for any damage and replace if necessary.
_____ Prune your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn to encourage healthy growth.
_____ Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter.
_____ Clean and store all summer garden tools.
_____ Prepare yard equipment for storage, including draining fuel from all gas powered tools.
_____ Drain garden hoses and store them inside.
_____ Replace the filter in your furnace.
Consider having a heating professional check your heating system to ensure optimal performance and discover minor problems before they turn into costly major repairs. (This is especially important for those in Texas with our recent hot summers, we are seeing an increase in hoses leaking on a/c’s and Freon leaking, costing hundreds of dollars to refill the system.)
_____ Clean your ducts to better your heating system’s efficiency as well as to reduce
household dust and to provide relief to those with respiratory problems. (Make sure you’re changing out your filters).
_____ Change the direction of your ceiling fans to create upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
_____ Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners and remove window units.
_____ Clean humidifiers regularly during the heating season as bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank and be misting out into your house.
_____ To prevent pipes freezing and bursting, ensure that the pipes are well insulated.
Know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve in case pipes do freeze.
_____ Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires.
_____ Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.
_____ Be sure attic insulation doesn’t cover vents in the eaves to prevent winter ice dams on the roof.
_____ Be sure ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
_____ Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents to prevent any unwanted guests.
Now, if you don’t want to do all this, there are actual inspectors who will come out and do many of these items to ensure your house is ready for the fall/winter months. Upon a little research, I have found it can cost in the ball park of $500-$1,000. Remember, it is far better to be proactive, than to have an emergency and have to pay emergency fees to get something fixed that could have been prevented had you done your check list.
Curb Appeal Renovations of course performs this service, so please call us if you’d like us to come out to inspect your home!