Depending on the season, your home and yard require different types of repair and maintenance. While getting ready for summer is all about the outdoors, preparing for winter requires making sure your home is sealed up. Having necessary inspections completed before winter arrives will help you make needed repairs that you otherwise might have missed.
The last thing you want to happen during the winter is for your heat to stop working. After your HVAC system has been cooling your home throughout the summer, it can struggle to then transition to heating. Getting your HVAC system inspected before winter will make sure that it is clear of dust and dirt and that a new filter is installed. A qualified HVAC technician can check your system for any issues big or small that may cause it to break down to prevent that from happening. Having regular check-ups of your HVAC system can also help keep your warranty valid, as many manufacturers require this kind of maintenance. It can also extend the life of your HVAC system. Most systems have an average lifespan of 15 years, but poor maintenance can cause them to need replacement sooner.
Weatherstripping is critically important to ensure that your home is kept warm in the winter. It adheres to the door jambs and creates a seal between your doors and door frames that keeps out air. If you notice drafts in your home or find it difficult to keep your home at the desired temperature, these may be signs you need to replace your weatherstripping. You can also weatherstrip both hung and casement windows by applying foam strips to the window jambs. Sealing your home will help you save energy and keep out the cold.
Roof and Gutters
When leaves fall in autumn, they tend to land or blow onto your roof and into your gutters. Clogged gutters and downspouts can cause pooling and overflowing when rain and snow come in the winter that can damage the exterior of your home. Be sure to clean your gutters of debris and make sure downspouts are working free of leaks. Make sure to check that your roof is in good condition. If there are any holes or cracks, repair them to ensure your home is watertight. In the fall, leaves can accumulate on your roof. If it rains, these wet leaves can then cause moss and fungi to grow.
Concrete and Asphalt
Concrete and asphalt paving, whether in your yard or your driveway, are susceptible to cracking because of the extreme temperature changes in the winter. A concrete sealer can help prevent cracking. Inspect your concrete and fill cracks before applying sealer. Asphalt driveways can expand and contract during temperature fluctuations. Asphalt paving should be sealcoated or it will get damaged by temperature changes. You can complete this work yourself, or hire someone to spray it with sealer.
Before you decide to light up your fireplace, you will want to have your chimney inspected. Hire a qualified chimney sweep who will be able to clean your fireplace and chimney, and let you know if there are any issues to be aware of. Ask them to also inspect the flashing on the exterior of your chimney to make sure there are no leaks. Dirty chimneys can create an excessive amount of smoke to come into your home, making it difficult to see and hard to breathe. Chimney fires can cause damage to the bricks and mortar, and in some cases, complete structural failure. Make sure your chimney is inspected and cleaned yearly to ensure it is in good working condition.
Exterior Walls and Siding
Exterior walls need to be inspected and sealed. If you have wood siding and trim, make sure the paint is in good condition, as this protects the wood from deterioration. Repaint areas where paint is chipping or flaking. Deteriorated wood can be a major project to replace. If you have brick exterior walls, make sure that the mortar joints are in good condition. Consider replacing any bricks that are deteriorated on the surface. These bricks have lost their facing, and can allow water in, compromising the integrity of the wall. Inspect your foundation for cracks or holes that could allow water intrusion.
Taking care of your landscaping before the winter comes is also important. If you haven’t already, rake up and dispose of dead leaves. Mow your lawn to around four inches before it goes dormant. Consider applying a winter fertilizer to your lawn to help it grow back lusher in the spring. Trim branches that have lost their leaves to help them when they come back in the spring. Make sure all of your trees are alive. A dead tree can be hard to spot but can also fall down in the winter, causing damage to your or your neighbors. Hire a specialist if you need help. Cover your outdoor furniture to protect it from rain and snow, or put it away in a shed.
Pools and Sprinklers
You will want to make sure anything water-related in your yard is drained and sealed, including pools and sprinkler systems. If you have a swimming pool, make sure it is properly covered and that its heating system is shut down and protected from the elements. Most sprinkler systems need to have their lines blown out to drain them properly, which you can hire a professional to do. Leaving water in your sprinkler system over the winter can cause the lines to freeze and break.
While it may be tempting to put off home repair and improvement items until the spring, small issues in the fall and winter can become big and costly problems later on. With colder temperatures on their way, many repair items need to be done sooner rather than later. If you want to have a warm and worry-free winter, do not wait to make sure your home and its systems are ready for the cold.
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