A Closer Look: Fall maintenance fends off winter worriesOriginally posted in the London Free Press
By Rob Parker
When it comes to home maintenance and what should be done during which season, most homeowners find that spring is the time to assess winter damage, start repairs and prepare for warmer months.
Summer usually involves a number of indoor and outdoor maintenance tasks such as repairing walkways and steps, painting and checking your chimney and roof.
Fall is the time to get your home ready for the coming winter that due to severe storms and temperature fluctuations can be the most gruelling season for your home.
We have compiled a list of some of the more common fall maintenance activities that should be completed before winter settles in.
- Have your furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace.
- For central air conditioning units, if you have a winter cover, use it or place a piece of plywood on top of the unit and either tie or weigh it down so it will not blow off in the wind. Putting something over the top of the exterior unit will help prevent damage to the fan blades and cooling fins. In addition, make sure you turn the power off to the unit by either shutting off the breakers or remove the fuses because this will prevent accidental use of the unit while it is covered.
- Have well water tested for quality. It’s recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
- Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet).
- Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
- Check for cracked, loose or missing caulking around windows and doors, and if needed replace it.
- Have your chimney inspected by a WETT (wood energy technology transfer) certified chimney sweep.
- Ensure windows and doors close tightly; repair or replace weather-stripping, as needed.
- Replace window screens with storm windows if applicable.
- Clean furnace mounted humidifier, if one is used.
- Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.
- Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).
- Replace or clean furnace air filter according to manufacturer’s recommendations.
- Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
Inspecting the above areas of your home this fall, plus performing regular maintenance in other areas on a regular basis, will help protect your home from unexpected damage or costly repairs this winter.
Rob Parker is a registered home inspector (RHI) with the Ontario Association of Home Inspectors, and an ASHI certified inspector (ACI) with the American Society of Home Inspectors. Rob can be reached at Thamespec Home Inspection Service (519) 857-7101, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.thamespec-inspections.com
Date : 10/1/2016