Fall Checklist for Your Home
Is your home ready for El Nino this year? Yes or no, winter is just around the corner.
And fall is the perfect time to take care of the little things that can make a big difference for you and your home when the cold weather does arrive. Most of tasks listed below are well with-in the average person’s ability. (Have a professional inspect your furnace.) But even if you choose to have them all done by a professional, it’s worth the expense. You’ll save yourself money, stress and maybe even your life.
Clean your gutters. Your roof’s drainage system is responsible for diverting hundreds of gallons of water from your home’s exterior and foundation walls each year. So it’s important to keep this system flowing smoothly. Clogged gutters can lead to major damage, from exterior walls to water in your basement. They are also more prone to rust and corrosion. Do yourself (and your home) a favor and have your gutters cleaned before the leaves fly this fall. You may also want to consider covering them with mesh covers so you never have to do this again.
Seal your air leaks. A home with air leaks around windows and doors is like watching dollar bills float away on the breeze. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, gaps in caulking and weather-stripping can account for as much as 10% of your heating bills. Weather-stripping is by far the most cost-effective way to save heating and cooling costs. Because weather stripping deteriorates over time, it’s important to inspect and replace it periodically. This simple task will reduce drafts and keep your home more comfortable all year-round.
Here are a couple of easy options for checking to see if your weather stripping is doing its job. You can close a door or window on a strip of paper; if you can slide the paper around easily, your weather stripping isn’t doing its job. Or try this: Close the door or window and hold a lighted candle near the frame. (Be careful not to let the flame get near anything flammable!) If the flame flickers anywhere along the frame, you have found an air leak. While you’re at it, check for missing or damaged caulk around those windows, doors, too. And don’t forget the entry points for your electrical, cable, phone, gas, and so. Seal any gaps you find with a suitable caulk.
Drain your outdoor faucets. You don’t want your outside faucets to freeze and burst. So close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, then open the outside faucet to drain the line. Sometimes there’s a small cap on the faucet you can loosen to speed up the process. If you don’t have shut-off valves, and your faucets are not the “freezeproof” types, you can buy Styrofoam faucet covers at many home centers.
Have your furnace inspected. Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. Here are some signs that you should have an inspection right away.
Noisy belts. Unusual screeches or whines may be a signal that belts connected to the blower motor are worn or damaged.
Poor performance. A heating system that doesn’t seem to work as well as it once did could be a sign of various problems – blocked heating ducts, misadjusted burners, or worn out blower motor.
Erratic behavior. This could be caused by a faulty thermostat or just a misadjusted furnace.
One simple task you should be sure to do is clean of replace the furnace filter.
Smoke and CO detectors. Replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector, then vacuum them using a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a smoke source (like a blown-out candle) near the unit. If you haven’t done so already, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home, including the basement.
These simple steps can keep you safe and comfy this winter.
The folks at Freedom Insurance care about your safety. Call today for answers to all your insurance questions!