Maintain Your Home by Checking off Pre-Winter To-Dos
by M.C. Millman
Although some of us may be in denial, fall is just around the corner.
If you are a homeowner, there are a few essentials to put on your to-do list to maintain your home and prepare for the upcoming winter. While you can do most of these tasks yourself, you can hire a professional to do the job as well.
Seal All Doors and Windows
Save money on heating bills by putting in that extra effort before the cold months. Take some caulk and a roll of weather stripping, and inspect the outside of your house. Be sure to pay extra attention to the siding, checking for cracks or holes. Put caulk in any cracks or gaps you see, and replace any cracked or damaged weather stripping around windows and doors.
Check Your Roof
Checking your roof before winter is important due to the weight and moisture expected from upcoming snowfall. Examine your roof for broken or missing shingles. If you find any, be sure to replace them right away. Also, look for signs of sagging or an overgrowth of moss, which can cause the roof to decay.
Take a moment to look at all trees near your roof or power lines. Check for any damaged tree limbs close to the roof that may break off and cause damage, and look for branches close to power lines.
Fall is the most important time to clean your gutters. Falling leaves, along with twigs, can clog both your gutters and downspouts. Even a small amount of debris can lead to clogs, which can cause significant water damage. This job should be done a minimum of once a year, but that varies based on your home's location. If trees surround your house, you will likely need to clean your gutters more frequently.
Don't wait until your gutters are overflowing with leaves to clean them, as this can cause water damage from an overflow of water and the gutters pulling away from the house and causing sagging.
Turn Off Outdoor Water and Store Hoses
Ensure that your outdoor water or sprinkler system is turned off, especially since temperatures can go below freezing in Rockland County. This includes cutting off the water flow for the outdoor shutoff valve. Cold temperatures can cause pipes to burst. Without this step, flooding can occur, requiring expensive repairs in the springtime. Also, remove garden hoses and drain them to prevent them from swelling and bursting.
Winterize Air Conditioning
Depending on the type of air conditioning system, you may need to cover your outdoor unit and clean the coils for winter if your home has central air conditioning. If you have window units, remove them to keep out the cold air.
Switch Out Batteries in Detectors
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are even more vital when your house is sealed for the winter, and the heat is on. Check your detectors and replace any dead batteries to keep them in top condition. Also, remember to replace your carbon monoxide detectors every 5-7 years. If you don't see a date on your carbon monoxide detector, or if you can't recall when you last bought it, replace it.
While it may be tempting to put off these tasks and hope for the best, doing so can result in costly repairs. Following through with these simple tasks will help you have a worry-free winter and an even better spring and summer.