Soon the leaves will be falling and cooler breezes will blow as autumn arrives. Now is the perfect time for home owners (sellers) to get their properties in shape before winter rolls in to help avoid problems in the months ahead. As a certified residential specialist, I would like to share the following professional suggestions that can help people protect their homes:
1. Seal it up.
Caulk and seal around exterior doors and window frames. Look for gaps where pipes or wiring enter the home and caulk those as well. Not only does heat escape from these opening, but water can enter and cause mold problems and even structural damage.
2. Look up
Check the roof for missing or damaged shingles. Water, wind, ice and snow can cause serious damage to a vulnerable roof, leading to a greater chance of further damage inside the home. It is best to have a qualified professional inspect and repair the roof, but a preliminary survey can be done from the ground using binoculars.
3. Clear it out
Clear gutters and eaves of leaves, sticks and other debris. If the gutters can accommodate them, leaf guards can be real time-savers and can prevent damage from clogged gutters. Check the joints between sections of gutter, as well as between the gutter and downspouts, and make any necessary adjustments or repairs.
4. No hose
In climates with freezing weather, garden hoses should be drained and stored indoors to protect them from the elements. Shut off outdoor faucets and make sure exterior pipes are drained of water. Faucets and pipes can easily freeze and burst, causing leaks and increasing the potential for serious water damage.
5. Warm up time
The furnace should be inspected to ensure that it's safe and in good working order. Most utility companies will provide no-cost inspections, but there can often be a long waiting list in the fall and winter. Replace disposable furnace air filters or clean the permanent type according to the manufacturing's instructions. Using a clean filter will help the furnace run more efficiently, saving money and energy.
6. Light that fire
Homeowners can safely enjoy the fireplace on a chilly fall evening if the firebox and chimney are professionally cleaned before use this season. Creosote, a byproduct of wood burning, can build up to dangerous levels and cause a serious chimney fire if not removed.
(resources: Pillar to Post Home Inspection), 10/2015
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