Tag Archives: Home Maintenance

Fall Maintenance for Your Home

 

Fall Home Maintenance (1)

1. Make Exterior Repairs

Mice need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry and with colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home.  Fill small holes and cover any large gaps with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors.

2. Clean the Eavestrough

After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary.  Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams.  Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.

3. Inspect the Roof

Make sure the roof is in good shape.  Inspect for missing and loose shingles. “Ice, rain, and woe combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs,” says Jay Butch, Director, Contractor programs for CertainTeed Roofing. “Your roof is your first defence in protecting your home.  It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.

4. Ready the Heating System

Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor.  Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced.  Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order.  Gary Webster, Creative Director of Travis Industries, suggests that you examine your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal.

5. Reverse Ceiling Fans

Change the direction of you ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.  Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season.  Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.

6. Cover Air Conditioners

Vacuum internal part of air conditioners.  Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover to prevent rusting of vital parts.

7. Clean Yard Equipment

Prepare your yard equipment for storage.  This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leave blowers, and chain saws. Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls.  Organize your snow clearing gear.  When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can get to them.

8. Prepare Deck for Winter

Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs.  Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area.  Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack.

9. Shut Off Outside Taps and Store Hoses

Protect your outdoor taps from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to them before the weather dips below freezing.  Drain hoses and store them indoors.

10. Clean Dryer Vents

Lint buildup in in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire.  Cool, dry weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out.  You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.  If you do it yourself:

  • Unplug your dryer
  • Shut off the gas if you have a gas dryer
  • Pull the dryer slightly away from the wall
  • Loosen the clamp holding the hose
  • Use a vacuum attachment or lint brush made for dryer hoses to clean out the hose and behind the dryer
  • Replace the hose, gently move the dryer to the wall (without crushing the hose) and plug it in.

FALL MAINTENANCE CHECKLIST

 

10 Ways to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Preparing Your Home For Winter

Now that fall is officially here, it’s time to prepare your home for cold weather. These steps, most of which you can do yourself, will help lower your utility bills and protect your investment.

Tune Up Your Heating System

A technician will inspect your furnace or heat pump to be sure the system is clean and in good repair, and that it can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency. The inspection also measures carbon-monoxide leakage.

If you act soon, you’ll minimize the chance of being 200th in line for repairs on the coldest day of the year.

Reverse Your Ceiling Fans

If your ceiling fan has a reverse switch, use it to run the fan’s blades in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat. The fan will produce an updraft and push down into the room heated air from the ceiling (remember, hot air rises).

This is especially helpful in rooms with high ceilings. It might even allow you to turn down your thermostat by a degree or two for greater energy savings.

Hit The Roof

roofMake sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. Your roof is your first defence in protecting your home. Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm. For safety’s sake, have a roofing professional check the condition of your roof.

After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.

Caulk Around Windows and Doors

caulkingIf the gaps between siding and window or door frames are bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. (Check the joints in window and door frames, too.) Silicone caulk is best for exterior use because it won’t shrink and it’s impervious to the elements. Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making  sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.

Divert Water

Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the  foundation.

Turn Off Outdoor Taps

Undrained water in pipes can freeze, which will cause pipes to burst as the ice expands. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining the water that remains in faucets.

If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes more than ten to 15 years old typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home.

Prepare to Store Away Your Mower

lawnmowerAs the mower sits through the winter, fuel remaining in its engine will decompose, “varnishing” the carburetor and causing difficulty when you try to start the engine in the spring.
John Deere offers these preventive steps: If you’ve added stabilizer to your fuel to keep it fresh longer, then fill the gas tank to the top with more stabilized fuel and run the engine briefly to allow it to circulate. If not, wait until the tank is nearly empty from use and run the engine (outdoors) to use up the remaining fuel. Check  your mower’s manual for other cold-weather storage steps.

Test Your Sump Pump

sumpSlowly pour several litres of water into the sump pit to see whether the pump turns on. You should do this every few months, but especially after a long dry season or before a rainy one.

For more complete instructions for testing and maintenance, check your owner’s manual. Most smp pumps last about ten years, according to Chubb Personal  Insurance.

Call A Chimney Sweep

Before you burn the Yule log, make sure your fireplace (or any heating appliance burning gas, oil, wood or coal), chimney and vents are clean and in good repair. That will prevent chimney fires and prevent carbon monoxide from  creeping into your home.essentials

Restock Winter Essentials

Don’t wait for the first winter storm to restock cold-weather essentials, such as salt or ice melt. Stock up on windshield washer fluid, too.