Avoid Damage by Getting Your Home Ready for Fall
Cooler temperatures and pretty soon falling leaves serve as a reminder that the fall season is fast approaching. As the seasons change, so do our activities and home needs. Even though summer has just ended, it’s a good time to do some seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly. The weather can change quickly, especially if you live in a colder climate and you don’t want to be caught unprepared. A bit of attention now will save costly repairs and aggravation later.
• Pipe Insulation. Your pipes are more susceptible to freeze damage when temperatures drop to 20 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Wrap the pipes in insulation tubes made of polyethylene or fiberglass. Take extra care with pipes that have frozen during previous winters or have been repaired in the last 12 months, as these pipes are more susceptible to damage.
- Investigate and identify any musty smells and odors. They are often an indicator that there is a hidden moisture problem.?
- Check the basement. If you have a basement, look for cracked basement windows that could allow cold air to make contact with pipes. Check for worn or missing insulation around garage and utility doors. Reducing the amount of cold air in the area minimizes your pipes' vulnerability.
- Do a roof check for leaks. You should be able to do at least a visual inspection of the roof from the ground. Grab some binoculars to get a closer look or if you’re able and can do so safely, climb on up for a better view. Look for missing, damaged, or loose shingles. If your roof is flat, you may need to remove leaves and debris.
- Check the chimney and fireplace. Prevent chimney fires. If you have a wood fireplace and use it often, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a professional.
- Fix Exterior Cracks. Note any cracks or holes along the outside walls and foundation of your home. Filling holes and cracks with spray foam insulation and caulking can help stop the cold air from coming into contact with your water pipes during extremely cold weather.
- Clean the gutters. Prevent icicles and ice dams. Hire a service to clear your gutters or do it yourself. Remove leaves, nests, and debris from gutters and check for leaks.
- Check water drainage. Rainwater downspouts need to be clear of obstructions and direct water away from foundations, walkways, and driveways. Add extensions to downspouts if necessary.
- Turn off faucets and store hoses. Drain garden hoses and disconnect from the outside spigots. Shut off exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Store hoses in a dry place so any residual water won’t freeze.
- Service sprinklers and irrigation system. Depending on your climate, your irrigation system may need to be drained and checked. Have a professional perform any necessary repairs and mark sprinkler heads near snow removal areas.
As you’re enjoying the last bits of summer, make sure that your home is prepared for the coming fall season. Preventative maintenance now will save money on expensive emergency repairs and wasted energy costs. Properly maintaining your home also enhances its value and appeal and is less effort than managing a crisis later. When the chilly weather approaches you and your home will be ready.