Are you getting ready to settle down “for a long winter’s nap?” Not so fast. There is a little work to do first. You will protect your home and keep it in tip-top condition with regular maintenance. You can enjoy a nap afterward. Here are some must do maintenance tips to prep your home for fall. When complete you might even sleep through any unexpected clatter: staying warm, safe, and sound.
Chimney Sweeping: Cozying up to a book or with a loved one in front of the warm glow of the fireplace will be perfect on a cold winter’s night. But only if your chimney is clean! A chimney should be inspected by a qualified professional once a year and swept when needed. Creosote builds up inside of chimneys with regular use. The creosote can lead to house fires. It will be removed when swept. Chimney cleaning prices range from $129-$377. The inspection should include the chimney crown, which protects your fireplace from rain, animals, and debris.
HVAC Maintenance: Schedule your fall HVAC maintenance before turning on the heat. HVAC systems will best serve your heating and cooling needs with a dedicated spring tune-up for cooling and a dedicated fall tune-up for heating.
Homeowners can change filters themselves between tune-ups. HVAC filters should be changed every 90 days. In extreme saltwater conditions (oceanfront homes) HVAC filters should be changed every 30 days. Refer to your HVAC manual and follow the preventative maintenance schedule for your system and living environment. The life expectancy of a system is 10-25 years. Your system will perform its best and last as long as possible with proper care and maintenance.
Safety: Check the expiration date of your fire extinguishers and replace them as necessary. Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replace batteries as needed, including backup batteries in hard-wired systems.
Maryland adopted the residential fire sprinkler mandate in 2012. If you are the owner of a newer home with a residential fire sprinkler system it needs to be properly maintained. Refer to your system manual for guidance regarding monthly inspections of valves, tanks, and pumps. Waterflow devices need to be tested every six months. Schedule an inspection of your system by a certified technician on a regular basis.
Clean the Gutters: When the leaves have changed color and fallen to the ground it’s time to clean the gutters. Clogged gutters and downspouts can damage your roof and siding during rainstorms.
Exterior Faucets: Turn off exterior faucets in the fall to protect your pipes from freezing in the fast approaching cold of winter. Drain your garden hoses and store them properly.
Weatherstripping: Add weatherstripping to windows and exterior doors. You will save money on energy bills and enjoy the added warmth with very little effort: a mere $5-$10 per window and $6-$10 per door when you do the work yourself. Weatherstripping your garage door is helpful to keep out unwanted small animals looking for a winter home. It’s a little more expensive at $60-$85 (but far less expensive than dealing with the mess and damage left behind by unwanted tenants).
Dryer Vents: Your dryer vents should be kept clean on a regular basis. The cool dry weather of fall can increase static electricity and ignite dryer lint. Clean those vents today!
Roof: Inspect your roof, or have a qualified professional inspect your roof. You will want to replace any missing shingles or make necessary repairs. The roof is your first line of defense in protecting your home from winter storms.
Whether you are new to the area and looking for your perfect home or performing routine maintenance to protect your home and maintain its value, routine maintenance is imperative. I look forward to working with you on all of your real estate needs on the Eastern Shore of Maryland. Contact Chuck Mangold today!