As leaves begin to turn and autumn settles in, new maintenance tasks arise to take care of your property. Of course, we all know things like leaf removal are essential in the fall, but there are a few more tasks you’ll want to keep in mind to avoid future costs and possible dangers.
Prevent Air Leaks
Air leaks can be a major expense during the cold winter months, not to mention a waste of energy from an environmentally conscious perspective. In order to prevent heat loss, you should test out the doors and windows on your property for any air escaping out or drafting in. One way to do this is by inspecting doors and windows for any rattling when wind blows or for any light creeping in around them. You can also hire an experienced professional to test for leaks. If you find that any of the doors or windows are culprits of minor air leaks, you can apply caulking or weather-stripping to tackle the issue. In more serious situations, replacing them may be necessary.
Chimney Cleanings and Inspections
If your property has a chimney or fireplace, the fall season is a great time to get inspections done. As many residential fires begin in fireplaces and chimneys within homes, this is a crucial step in ensuring your property will be safe throughout the upcoming winter season. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) recommends yearly inspections on all chimneys, fireplaces, flues and vents. These inspections can reveal the buildup of soot and creosote as well as leaves and twigs. Sometimes even nesting animals can be found, which can become a dangerous hazard if not addressed.
Check Heating Systems / Service Furnace
Autumn is also the time to check that your heating systems are working properly. Checking every furnace in your unit to be sure it’s working properly allows you to see if adjustments or repairs are necessary. Be sure to check the pilot lights of each heating unit in the fall, before the first cold spell hits, in order to be proactive. You’ll also want to have your furnaces serviced annually, and fall is a great time for this. Having an HVAC professional check for carbon monoxide is also a smart idea. Getting your furnaces serviced can not only save you on energy costs, but can also extend the life of your furnace.
One very important task to take care of is cleaning out the gutters of your property. You’ll want to have leaves and other debris removed so that you can prevent future basement flooding and even roof leaks and rot that may happen as winter approaches. Having your gutter system tested for any blockages is a smart idea as well.
Another good rule is to check your roof for any leaky areas, which may worsen as snow begins to build up and melt in the season ahead. Be sure to inspect attic ceilings for any obvious signs of leaks, including sagging, water stains, or cracks of light coming through.
Address Safety Hazards
Of course, aesthetic maintenance is an important part of taking good care of your property, but safety concerns always take precedence. In the fall season, you’ll want to take advantage of this time to check in on any safety concerns and minimize any risks you find. Fire safety can be addressed by doing some of the tasks mentioned above: clearing gutters, testing heating systems, and cleaning fireplaces and chimneys. Other safety issues around the outdoor areas of your property should be addressed as well. Checking all of the surrounding trees for any overhanging or dead limbs is a great place to start. This can prevent damage to your home when high winds and winter storms hit later in the coming year. Trimming back any bushes can often help with this as well.
You’ll thank yourself later for addressing any issues with your steps and walkway areas, before the weather turns colder and ice covers the ground. Crumbling steps can be a problem in the warmer months, but can obviously pose a greater danger in the winter months. Areas of breakage in walkways can also get worse as the cold season drags on, so you’ll want to repair those issues preemptively.
Use the fall season to be proactive with your maintenance. A property that is well taken care of reduces the safety and financial risks for the owner, and it’s much more appealing to prospective buyers. These 5 tips shouldn’t take long, and they can save you some stress and money down the line.