The weather is getting colder and the nights longer. At the same time, summer heat, humidity and storms may have been hard on your home and property. With the changing season, you've got some work to do. Here are some indoor and outdoor maintenance tips that will help your family safe and comfortable this fall and winter, and save energy, too.
Check your heating system. Hire a qualified professional to inspect and clean your heating system. This will help ensure efficient performance and alert you to any potential maintenance or repair issues.
Change your furnace filter. Dirty filters restrict airflow, making your heating system work harder to keep you comfortable. Change your furnace filter regularly according to manufacturer's instructions.
Clean your chimney. Hire a qualified professional to clean your chimney. A cleaning typically includes an inspection for soot buildup, obstructions, cracks in the chimney liner and signs of water damage.
Air seal your basement. Check for air leaks around pipe or wiring holes on outside walls. Seal any leaks you find with expandable spray foam. Also, check for gaps where the wall meets the ceiling. Fill smaller gaps with caulk; fill larger gaps by stuffing in pieces of insulation.
Test detectors. Replace batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to ensure that they work. Wired detectors should also have fresh battery backups. Replace any detectors that are 10 years old or older.
Seal windows and doors. Check windows and exterior doors for gaps that can let warm air escape. Seal any you find with caulk or weatherstripping.
Look at outdoor lighting. With nights getting longer, check outdoor security lights and switch out bulbs at or near end of life. LEDs are highly efficient, last longer longer than conventional bulbs and work well in cold temperatures.
Clear gutters and downspouts. Blocked gutters can keep water from melting snow from draining. This can lead to the buildup of ice dams. Clear gutters and downspouts of leaves and other debris.
Trim trees away from your house. Heavy ice and snow can cause tree branches to fall. If they are hanging over your roof, they can cause serious damage.
Maintain your generator. Make sure your generator is ready to go if needed. Change the oil and the fuel filters, as well as the spark plug and air filter as recommended. Start it up and let it run for a few minutes to test it. Always follow manufacturer's guidelines regarding maintenance and safe operation.
Sustain your snow blower. Before the snow falls, change the oil and the spark plug on your snow blower. Inspect belts and auger paddles for wear and tear and replace if needed. Check the shave plate and skid shoes for wear, and reverse or replace them as necessary.
Make sure you have everything you need to stay safe and warm during extreme weather. These include:
- Emergency supplies, such as blankets, flashlights, non-perishable food and a first aid kit.
- Fuel for your generator and snowblower stored in a safe place away from your living space.
- Adequate supplies of rock salt or other deicers.
With a little time and effort now, you'll be ready no matter what the weather has to offer this autumn and winter.