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The holiday season is rolling around, days have started to get shorter and the weather has started to turn. As a homeowner, you’re probably focused on preparing for winter, for stocking your pantry and for setting dates of important get-togethers with friends and family members. But, have you put time into preparing your home for the upcoming winter? If your answer is no, there’s not a better time to start than right now. Consider taking care of the seven home maintenance tasks listed below to prepare your home for what’s ahead and to save money down the road on unnecessary repairs.
Alarms are important; they’re responsible for alerting your family when potential emergencies arise. In many situations, they mean the difference between whether or not you make it out of a dangerous situation inside of your home. Because of this, they should be a top priority when thinking about regular home maintenance.
Test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms on a regular basis. However, each year around this time, even if the alarm is functioning properly, it’s a good idea to change the batteries. Why risk it when you don’t have to?
With winter comes snow. Excess snow on top of a roof adds weight and moisture. If your roof isn’t ready for it, the results could be catastrophic. Before the cold weather hits, now is the time to inspect your roof to make sure it’s ready for winter.
Take the time to walk your roof – if possible – or to hire a professional to take a look. Watch for signs of wear or curling of your shingles, missing shingles, loose or damaged flashing and damaged mortar around your chimney. Check the inside of your home as well. Look for moist or soft spots around windows and across your chimney. If anything looks questionable or makes you unsure, the time to repair it is now.
Hire a professional to clean your chimney or stovepipe. Make sure any clogs are removed and that any cracks in the flue or loose mortar is repaired. Chimneys are responsible for keeping smoke and fire out of your house; when they are not properly maintained, fire and smoke damage could become real possibilities. Before you start up your stove for the winter, make sure your chimney is ready to do its job.
Who wants a dirty house when you’re cooped up for the winter? Even if clean carpets don’t top your list of “must haves” or you view deep cleaning as an unnecessary luxury, deep cleaning is important.
Carpet is plush; it holds onto dirt and grime like other surfaces cannot. It also retains moisture. When a carpet isn’t deep cleaned on a regular basis, those unwanted substances become mainstays of your home. To remove them and to prevent damage, deep cleaning is important. Carpet steamers can be rented from many big-box and local hardware stores at a reasonable rate. Why not take care of this important maintenance task today?
Many home appliances and systems require vents and filters for regular, efficient operation. Dryers, air conditioners, furnaces, septic tanks and other household essentials all come with their own systems that need regular attention. When filters are clogged or vents are dirty, proper air – sometimes heated air – flow is restricted; this can lead to overheated appliances that function poorly, broken appliances and even fires.
On an annual basis, take the time to clean all vents and replace filters. This could save costly replacement fees in the future while extending the life of your appliances. If you’re unsure of where to start, check out your manuals or look online for details relating to your model numbers.
Whether your basement is used for storage, ignored or is a recreational center of your household, one thing is certain: it’s underground. Because of this, it may be more susceptible to leakage, mold and damage in general.
Why not use this time of year to deep clean your basement, to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter and to inspect your basement for damage before the ground becomes saturated with moisture from melting snow? If a repair is needed, staying ahead of the game could save you thousands of dollars in the long run.
If there’s one thing your family depends upon during the cold winter months, it’s a reliable heating system. Whether your home uses natural gas, oil or electric heat, if something malfunctions, you could be in trouble.
Take the time to turn your heating system on and to monitor its efficiency. Walk around your house to be sure any outdoor vents are clear of leaves and other debris. Inside of your home, be sure your furnace or system is clear of obstructions and clutter that could become fire hazards. In addition to looking for the obvious, use this time to inspect any windows and doors and to be sure there’s no cold air coming in from outdoors; this could lower your heating system’s ability to keep up with cooler temperatures.
Now is the time to prepare your home for the cold weather that’s around the corner. Take the time to follow the steps listed above to make sure your family is ready and to save unnecessary repair costs this winter.