Maintenance Series Part I
Our Home Maintenance Series keeps home owners on track with seasonal home maintenance. Everyone is busy and benefits from a reminder or two of essential tasks around the house. Seasonal maintenance prevents damage long term. Pay attention to these maintenance items now to avoid costly repairs.
Don’t forget to bookmark this page as a future reference.
Winterize your Home this Fall
The average home energy costs are primarily due to heating, cooling, water heating, appliances, and lighting.
- *29% of the yearly cost is spent heating the home
- *14% of the yearly cost is spent heating the water
*statistics for an average home of 1500 square feet
Give yourself peace of mind this winter by preparing early for the cold temperatures. A few of these tasks require a professional to properly complete, however most of them are do-it-yourself projects.
Problem: Full gutters can cause icicles or ice dams.
Solution: Clean out gutters of fallen leaves and debris prior to the first freeze. Consider gutter guards if you don’t yet have them installed. Gutter guards prevent full clogging of gutters and make clean up easy.
In the Yard
Problem: Tree limbs can easily fall during a winter storm, as they get loaded up with ice and under pressure.
Solution: Prune trees and shrubs, particularly ones that are overgrown.
Problem: Don’t fertilize, reseed, or aerate your lawn too early in the fall. With warm temperatures and a wide range of fluctuation on the thermometer, you will easily kill new growth quickly.
Solution: Fall is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. The cool temperatures are perfect for seeds to have a chance to settle into the soil to begin growth. Existing grass also has a chance to rejuvenate, and root itself further into the ground.
Problem: Leaky roof.
Solution: Check for damaged shingles and gutters. Plan to replace broken or damaged shingles and gutters to prevent further damage. A professional may be needed to complete this task.
Problem: Dirty chimneys and loose or open flues can cause many problems. Drafts of cold air, unclear air, and even critters can enter through flues without a tight seal. Fires can occur when chimneys are not well maintained and cleaned.
Solution: Clean chimney early in the Fall Season if possible. Test fireplace flue for tight seal.
Doors and Windows
Plugging air leaks alone can save you $200 a year in energy costs.
Don’t want to plug the air leaks? Think about this. Air leaks cause the following:
- humidity problems
- poor indoor air quality
- cold spots
- uncomfortable drafts
Problem: Windows and doors are common places that air escapes and enters a home. If you have areas that heat is escaping from, you’re losing money and your furnace isn’t able to run efficiently.
Solution: Apply caulk and/or weather stripping where cracks are letting air in and out. double paned windows are an investment if you have the extra money to spend, and will help save money all year. They increase your energy efficiency at home, keeping outdoor temperatures outside.
Insulation film can be purchased and applied to insulate your home. This is a less expensive option compared to the double paned windows. After reading many customer reviews, it appears the insulation film for windows can significantly lower or raise temperature inside by keeping outdoor air outside. I’m definitely thinking about trying it this year for our upstairs windows that don’t have double panes.
A draft guard will help keep unwanted air from coming into a home or through a dedicated door. Don’t have a draft guard? A rolled towel placed at the bottom of the exterior door will block the draft from coming into your home.
DIY Quick Tip:
Purchase weatherstripping and tape along bottoms of windows and in door frames. Weatherstripping is inexpensive, and a quick fix to keep the warm air in and cold air out. Check out this weather stripping for less than $2. You can get 17 feet, which would take care of two or three windows. Prices range from $2 to $8 depending on size, brand, and color.
Caulk spaces that are less than 1/4″. Allow for about twenty minutes per window.
Allow for about one our per door when applying weather stripping.
Problem: Electrical outlets are sneaky places that cold air can leak through. This is especially true for outside walls of the home.
Solution: Try these Electric Outlet Insulators. These insulators are cheap, easy, and quick to install.
Other Home Maintenance To Do:
If you’re working through a checklist three to four times a year, there are some other routine maintenance items that will help you in the long run.
- clean dryer vent
- check for dampness, particularly in homes without a basement, on the floors and the walls
- check for leaks- especially around vents, chimneys, skylights, and others.
- flush the hot water heater (only once a year)
- check porch and deck supports
- upgrade thermostat programmable
- switch ceiling fan rotation to push hot air down, going clockwise
- change air conditioning/HVAC unit filters
In addition to completing the fall maintenance checklist, click here to read the post about cleaning the home.
Check back during late winter for our next home maintenance edition checklist.