Television shows focusing on home renovations, do-it-yourself projects and home flipping have become enormously popular. It’s difficult not to be drawn into the dream of a luxurious bathroom, gourmet kitchen or beautiful garden. But winter is coming, and it is important to take care of our current properties, protecting our housing investment for the long term. Here’s is a quick checklist of things to do each autumn before the snow flies.
Furnaces and Air Conditioning
Have your furnace serviced by a qualified provider according to the manufacturer’s guidelines (and have them look at your gas fireplace while they are at it). Ask the provider for the best tips on keeping the fan area clean, especially if there are animals in the house. Check, clean or replace the air filter either seasonally or monthly, again according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. Inspect ductwork to see if the joints are sealed properly. Bleed valves on any hot-water radiators. Vacuum your baseboard heaters. Scrutinize chimneys for any small animals that may have taken up residence over the summer months, and get any broken bricks or crumbling mortar repaired. Consider getting your chimney professionally cleaned. Clean and cover exterior air conditioning units. Revisit your programmable thermostat settings if there have been changes to your lifestyle.
Inspect all doors, windows and skylights for air drafts; fix weather-stripping or caulk accordingly. Install your storm doors and windows and clean and store screens.
Check your fire, carbon monoxide and other security alarms and replace batteries. Inspect outdoor lights and replace dead ones. Discuss fire escape routes with your family and examine all window and door hardware, as well as home fire extinguishers. Clean out your garage so that there is enough room to store your car in case of winter storms, and make sure your shovels, salt and snow blower are within reach. Fix any loose boards or stones in your front steps before the ice comes; ditto for the handrails. Update your emergency storm supplies so that you have three days of non-perishable food and water on hand.
Turn off all external water faucets and drain properly. Store garden hoses in shed, garage or basement. Clean eavestroughs from leaves and organic matter, and observe water flow to ensure proper drainage from roof. Store (or at least cover) garden furniture and protect younger trees from potential winter damage. Bring your terracotta planters inside. Trim back tree branches that are inching too close to power lines. Inspect your deck for splintering or other damage and treat to prevent further issues. And clean and say goodbye to your lawnmower for another year!