The hottest months of the year are behind us, and we can look forward to cooler temperatures, the holidays, and turtleneck sweaters. But don’t forget the essential maintenance your home needs, inside and out, to be ready for fall and especially winter.
Here’s a look at some of the most essential jobs not to skip while the weather is still nice enough to take care of them:
We mention this one a lot because it’s always important! Clean gutters protect your roof, attic, yard, basement and foundation. You should get your gutters cleaned at least once or twice a year, and maybe more often if you have a lot of nearby trees shedding leaves into the gutter system. Autumn is an excellent gutter-cleaning season because clearing out falling leaves helps prevent gutter backups, snow buildup and ice dams on your roof later in the season.
If you haven’t done this already, try to get on your pro’s schedule as soon as possible. HVAC systems ideally should be inspected twice a year — once before you start using the air conditioner and once before you start using the heater. Even if you’ve already fired up your heater, an inspection, which costs around $100, will do you a lot of good. Your technician will check out all essential systems, make sure the heating elements, burners, and so forth are in good working order, and try to spot minor problems before they become big. And since they’re already getting into the innards of your system, your pro can also look at the air conditioner to see what effect the wear and tear of the summer months has created.
If you use your fireplace, you need to get your chimney inspected and cleaned at least once a year to prevent potentially dangerous creosote and buildup.
Seal your interior
Door jambs and windows are some of the biggest culprits in losing air to the outside, wasting the air you’ve been paying to get heated or chilled by your system. Check your windows and doors for air leaks, and use weather stripping or caulk to seal up cracks. Even a small crevice beneath a window can make a big difference in comfort in that room.
Check emergency systems
We all hope nothing goes wrong in our home, but it is wise to prepare for the worst. Check your home’s smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors, and other safety equipment. Make sure your fire extinguishers are up to date, verify their pressure meter remains in the safe zone, and remind everyone where they are and how to use them. Ideally, you want one extinguisher per floor, especially close to any cooking areas. Review your escape plan in the event of a disaster, and have your family practice it so they’ll remember in an emergency.