Updated: May 22
When the frost is on the pumpkin and the leaves turn red and gold, you know one thing – winter is coming. Take advantage of autumn days to get your house in shape now. You’ll be protecting your home against upcoming harsh storms and frigid cold while keeping your family cozy and safe from seasonal hazards.
Sound like a lot of work? It doesn’t have to be that way.
Keep it simple, sweetie; think R.I.C.H. for the 4 fall home maintenance tasks most recommended by Networx professional contractors.
Roof -- Give it a Fall “Health” Checkup
Inside your attic, look up … waaay up. The attic ceiling is the underside of your roof and the perfect place to spot problems in the making. Networx roofing contractors advise: Watch out for peeling or stained paint and musty odors (yuck!); sagging decking between the rafters; leaks; and actual holes with daylight peeping shyly through.
Outside -- Up Close
Now head outside to check your gutters for signs of shedding. We’re talking tiny granules that have come off your asphalt roofing shingles. A seriously balding roof is bad news; it means that the shingles are becoming worn out and likely to absorb water.
Outside -- From Afar
From the yard – or across the street – look up at your roof (binoculars can come in handy here). Keep an eye out for problem shingles (curling, broken, or gone altogether); moss or lichen growth; cracked caulk or rust on the flashing; worn rubber vent boots; or peeling paint on the underside of the roof’s overhang.
Follow up on Warning Signals
All these warning signals need fast, knowledgeable TLC, because roof damage and leaks will only get worse. Photograph your findings to simplify follow-up, then call a reliable roofing pro ASAP … even before you post your pics to Instagram. Roof repair or replacement may be a hassle, but it is so much easier to take care of now than when a January blizzard is pelting down.
Insulation -- Insulate, Seal, and Stay Safe
Insulate your home to improve energy efficiency, keeping icy breezes out and heated air in -- right where you want them. According to Networx home heating experts, key areas to insulate are your attic and crawl space, plus the ductwork if you have a forced air heating system.
Seal Two simple and effective fixes that will save tons of energy (and money!), brought to you by Networx handymen: 1) Prevent wintry air from coming indoors by sealing cracks in your walls, particularly around doors and window frames,. 2) Seal the connection between your furnace and the main ducts.
Keep Your Home Safe
A well-sealed house is comfortable and energy-smart; however it also increases risk to you and your family from dangerous gases. Test for natural gas leaks. Also, install a carbon monoxide alarm and a smoke detector next to every sleeping area – or check your existing models (remember to change batteries every 6 months, when we change the clocks in spring and fall).
Clean Up – Get Rid of Potential Hazards
Have your flue cleaned to avoid chimney fires (a serious problem in winter) before snuggle-by-the-fireplace season begins. In addition, install a chimney cap to prevent birds or squirrels nesting in the flue, as well as a chimney balloon to keep cold outdoor air from sneaking in. Don’t worry; these measures won’t stop Santa from visiting your home come December.
An awful lot of those gorgeous fall leaves end up in your gutters and downspouts, where they tend to look a tad less lovely. Get them cleared out before they cause blockage and water backup. You’ll minimize possible harm to your roofing materials, foundation, and the landscaping around your home, besides reducing the risk of ice dams.
Speaking of foundations, Networx landscapers recommend keeping them clear as well. Clear twigs, branches, and other garden debris out of the area where your home’s walls come in contact with the earth. Store firewood at least 3 feet away from the house. This prevents moisture buildup, which can eventually damage your foundation’s concrete. Remove dead trees, which could otherwise turn into a major storm hazard.
HVAC -- Give it the Respect it Deserves
Get Your Furnace Cold Weather-Ready
Get your furnace in shape for the major workout it’s facing in the cold months to come. (Cue “Eye of the Tiger.”) This will not only ensure optimal home heating, but also make your furnace work safer and last longer. Invest in a professional furnace tune-up, including:
Repair of worn or broken components
Test for leakage of carbon monoxide or natural gas
Lubrication of motor and bearings
Cleaning furnace filter and burners
Don’t Forget Your Faithful A/C
Your air conditioning system served you faithfully all summer long. Now that it’s (temporarily) retiring from active duty, don’t forget it completely. Remove window units and store till next year. For a central system, winterize your A/C outdoor unit:
Switch off electric circuit for the season.
Clear out fallen leaves or other debris and hose down the unit. Let dry completely.
Protect exposed pipes with foam covers.
Install a waterproof covering on the A/C unit once it’s completely dry, to keep out snow, wind, and small animals like mice or rabbits.