10 home maintenance tips for this fall
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Monday, September 12, 2016, 9:00 PM - While you soak up the remaining sun before fall officially starts, here are 10 fall home-maintenance tip so your place is ready when the temperature finally drops below 20oC for good.
1. Inspect your roof
When fall's rains (and winter's snows) arrive, few things make the season more miserable than a leaky roof.
Experts recommend doing a visual inspection of your roof, either from the ground with binoculars or heading up there with a ladder. Look for bent, cracked or missing shingles and replace them.
If there are a lot of those, and you know your roof is old, consider having it replaced. It may be costly, but so is water damage from leaks.
While you're up there, DIY Network recommends paying special attention to areas around skylights, chimneys or vents.
2. Check your roof gutters
When the leaves are done falling, you'll save a lot of hassle by pulling out the ladder again and clearing out your roof gutters.
Clogged or clear, the water from fall and early winter rains won't stop coming. Clearing the gutters allows rainwater to drain properly through your downspouts, rather than spilling over the sides and potentially getting into your home's foundation.
For a less-gunky job, wait for dryer weather to clear out the dried leaves.
And speaking of downspouts, check them for leaks, and make sure they direct water away from the foundation, not to mention pathways and driveways.
3. Put your barbecue to bed
At some point, you'll have to accept that the season for grilling is over.
Take the cool down as a reminder to clean the barbecue's grills and burners, as well as disconnect the tank and store it somewhere safe.
Don't forget to guard against moisture by either covering your barbecue up or putting it out of the elements.
4. Clear your yard
You won't be getting much use out of your backyard, so fall is a good time to remove things that won't do well when the snows come.
Move or cover backyard furniture that you know won't react well to the cold and snow.
Your lawnmower doesn't like those conditions either, so move all outdoor tools inside.
5. Disconnect your outdoor hose
While your home's warmth may insulate water in pipes from the cold rigors of Canada's winter, outside faucets have no such protection.
Turn water off to outdoor faucets, and disconnect and store your garden hose as well. Make sure to run the tap after to drain as much of the water out before the cold sets in.
6. Inspect your home's exterior for cracks
Fall is the best time to do this, not just because of fall rains and winter snows, but with an eye to the spring melt as well.
Walk around and have a look for cracks or gaps. Take a good look at doors, windows, and entry points of wires or cables. Sealing these off will save you headaches later.
Don't delay too long in doing so, as caulking is best done before it gets too cold.
7. Get ready to turn up the heat
You've prepped the outside of your home against the rigors of the cold, now it's time to focus on keeping the interior toasty.
Change out the air filter on your furnace (and stock up on spares), and call in an inspector to give the system a once-over, as well as check for signs of carbon monoxide buildup.
Next, check all your heating ducts and vents for dust build-up, and peek inside to see if anything fell into them over the past season. Every bit of extra clearance helps.
8. Guard against drafts
Having a warm home isn't much of a boon if you're losing heat through poor insulation.
Check your window and door seals for drafts when the weather gets cool enough. Seal any cracks with caulk or weather stripping.
9. Check your humidifier
Winter air is dry, and that has its own effects on your home's infrastructure.
If your home is equipped with a humidifier, it'll need annual maintenance as well. Clean out the filter, or replace it if it's too encrusted. Give the equipment as a whole a good cleaning also.
10. Give a thought to home safety
While you're giving your home its seasonal overhaul, take the time to make sure it's safe for its inhabitants.
Check your smoke detectors to see if they are in working order (you should have one on each floor), and check your fire extinguisher. If you need to replace it, now's a good time to do so.
Winter blackouts are a fact of life in Canada, so if you own an emergency generator, test it out (but be sure not to do so in an enclosed area, as fume build up can be hazardous or deadly).