Fall Maintenance Tips

Executive Insurance & Financial Services - 2011-10-03

Fall is the best time to do some important annual maintenance to your home in preparation for the coming winter.

Clean/Inspect Your Gutters:
Clean & inspect your gutters several times throughout the fall, as leaves continue to drop.   Clogged gutters can lead to water spilling over the roof and settling on the ground by your foundation. This can leak into your home and damage the foundation.   By keeping your gutters and downspouts clean all season you can direct water away from the foundation, your walkways and your driveways. This will also keep you prepared for that first winter snow.  

Inspect/Repair Roof: 
Inspect your roof for wears and tears of the summer. Look for missing or damaged shingles and make the necessary repairs before the first winter snow.   Check the underside of your roof for water stains, signs of leaks, or condensation.   Inspect around chimneys and skylights for gaps. Don’t climb on the roof yourself, hire a professional. 

Inspect Your Windows & Doors:
As the air outside starts to cool down, inspect your windows and doors for leaks that might compromise your heating efficiency.   Have any major damage professionally repaired.   Repair any damage to the caulking around the windows or if necessary purchase plastic sealing kits or weather-stripping. Remove summer window screens; clean them and store them for winter. Replace them with storm windows.
Check Around Your House:
Check the foundation, steps, walkways, driveways, and retaining walls for any signs of cracks, heaving or crumbling.   Make any necessary repairs. 
Yard Maintenance:
Keep your yard clean. Leaves on the ground, especially on driveways and walkways can lead to accidents or falls.    Rake your leaves into piles and scoop them into yard waste bags. Pile branches into bundles and tie them with twine to make removal easy. Many towns have special yard waste removal days in the fall when they will come collect your leaves and branches.   Check your local government’s rules before burning leaves. Most areas have ordinances against it.   If you are going to burn your leaves make sure you are far away from your home. 
Have a professional tree service come and trim any dead limbs or branches that could break under the weight of snow or ice.
When the warm weather comes to an end, pack up and store your patio furniture for the winter.   It is best to either bring the furniture indoors or pile it up and shrink wrap it for the season.  
Disconnect Outdoor Plumbing:
Disconnect your garden hoses. Drain any exterior water lines, hose bibs, sprinklers and pool equipment. If possible turn them off using an indoor valve and drain the water from pipes that lead to outside faucets.  
Prepare Your Garage:
Check for leaks in the doors, including examining the weather-stripping on the bottom of the garage door.   Make any necessary repairs.  
Drain your lawnmower and other summer yard equipment of gasoline and oil for safe winter storage.
Have Your Chimney Cleaned:
Before its time to start burning wood in that fire place again, have your chimney cleaned and inspected by a chimney sweep.   Need a good chimney sweep, call EIFS for recommendations.   
Check Your Heating System:
It’s almost time to turn on that heating system. Clean or change the air filter in your furnace. Have your furnace cleaned and inspected annually and if needed give your system a tune-up.   Check for possibly hazardous carbon monoxide levels generated by the heating system.    Vacuum your electric baseboard heaters to remove dust, allowing heaters to run safely and more efficiently.
Close your attic vent to conserve heat.
Lower your energy costs by installing a programmable thermostat.
Test Your Emergency Generator:
If you have an emergency generator and you haven’t used it lately, not is a good time to test it, before the icy winter storms lead to black outs.   Bring your generator outside and give it a test run.   Be sure to start it outside and not in an enclosed space like your garage, to protect yourself from potential carbon monoxide poisoning.
Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Alarms/Fire Extinguishers:
Fall is a great time to inspect your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms to make sure they are working properly.    You should also check the expiration date on all your fire extinguishers. 
Keep your family safe this winter by preparing your home this fall!



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Executive Insurance & Financial Services