10 Ways to Prepare A Championship Home:
Football is here already, the kids are back in school, and those summer sunsets are a distant memory. Its also time to get your home ready for the long Winter that is right around the corner. No matter how you game-plan for the next few weekends, be sure to take save some timeouts (between ballgames and season ending BBQ’s) to make sure your home is ready for the long season ahead.
1) How’s The Roof Holding Up?
Don’t wait until you’re up on a ladder stringing lights the day after Thanksgiving to notice that you are missing shingles or that the flashing at your chimney is shot. Trust me, keeping up on these repairs in advance will prevent you from shelling out more money when water begins causing all sorts of problems due to a poorly maintained roof.
Take notice of the following areas:
a) Are your gutters clear from debris? Are they securely fastened to the facia or rafter tails? Is rust eating away at the aluminum causing holes and leaks? Gutter systems are often overlooked, however, keeping them in good working condition is key to preventing water from wreaking havoc on your house.
b) Are your shingles showing signs of wear? Are the shingles securely fastened or are some missing all together? Has moss taken over the top of your house?
If you notice any of these problems or detect another issue with your roof, don’t panic. You have some time to take action. We can put you in contact with a licensed & bonded roofing contractor to get you an estimate on what any repairs will cost if deemed necessary.
2) When Was The Last Time Your Heating System Was Serviced?
Your furnace is a work horse and is going to have to be ready to get you through another long Winter. Before you fire it up this season have an HVAC Technician do a routine service inspection and cleaning on your furnace, thermostat, and ductwork. This annual service call can help to maximize the life of your heating system, possibly reveal ways to save money related to your heating bill, and help detect any problems before the temperature dips below freezing. Most importantly, this service will keep you and your loved ones safe by ensuring there are no gas or carbon monoxide leaks. Call early as schedules tend to book solid this time of year.
3) Are You Planning On Using Your Fireplace This Winter?
Regardless of if you are a heavy wood burner or it’s been 3 years since you last stoked the logs in your fireplace, before you send smoke up your chimney this Winter, it’s wise to have it swept by a certified chimney sweep. Besides keeping your chimney clean they will inspect your flue and check to see that all aspects of your fireplace are working properly. You can also take this time to make sure you have properly functioning fire extinguishers located throughout the house as well as smoke and CO detectors, installed and full of battery life. For more information on fireplace safety, go online: http://www.csia.org/
4) Be Prepared, Buy A Backup Generator:
Don’t wait till you’re in the dark and without power to decide that having a portable generator is a good idea for your home. Do your research and buy the best generator that is going to provide your family with enough power in case a storm knocks you off the grid for a couple of days. Now is also the time to stock up on bottled water, batteries, and other essentials. To compare popular generators, go online to: http://www.consumerreports.org/cro/generators/buying-guide.htm
5) Slip and Fall Prevention:
Is there a chance that Trick-Or-Treaters are going to fall through your porch or that grandma will have more trouble with your driveway than the reindeers this Christmas? Put yourself in others’ shoes and see how there might be safety issues lurking in and around your property; especially once the birds fly South for the year. Even if you are not financially ready to overhaul your deck or driveway right now, you can keep visitors safe and save yourself a possible lawsuit by making sure that rotten deck boards are replaced, your home has adequate lighting, handrails are installed (to current building code), etc..
6) Is Your Dryer Blowing Hot Air?
…It should be. If your clothes are not getting dry in the proper amount of time you may have a clogged dryer hose that is causing the problem. Over time your dryer’s hose and vent can become clogged with lint. Not only does this create an inconvenience to you as the laundry piles up but there is a huge potential for a fire when this hose is not kept free and clear. Unhook the hose from both connections and remove all lint in the hose and in the area behind the dryer. If you currently have a flexible plastic hose, it is highly recommended that you upgrade to a rigid or semi-rigid metal duct, as another inexpensive step you can take to reduce the risk of a dryer fire. For more information regarding dryer maintenance see:http://www.nfpa.org/safety-information/for-consumers/causes/dryers-and-washing-machines
7) Are Your Pipes Warm?
Don’t forget to protect your plumbing before the 1st freeze by ensuring that all exterior hose bibs are covered. Insulate all exposed pipes in freeze zones such as garages, crawl spaces, and exterior walls. If you have an irrigation system, be sure to properly winterize it so that it’s ready to go next Spring. If you own a hot tub, consider purchasing a Winter Blanket. This insulated blanket installs easily inside the equipment compartment door. This can be another layer of protection to your tub’s components as the temperature falls outside. Locate your water main shutoff, electrical panel, and gas meter and keep a clear path to them in case an emergency arises.
8) Test Your Sump Pump:
If you have a sump pump in your basement or crawl space you should run a little test water in the basin to make sure it is pumping properly. Make sure it is plugged in and clean. The typical lifespan on these mechanical units is usually around 10 years. This unsung hero downstairs is a vital defense to your home, so routine inspections on your sump pump are recommended especially during the rainy season…I guess that’s never-ending in the NW, right? For more sump pump info:http://homerepair.about.com/od/plumbingrepair/ss/sump_pump_maint_tips.htm
9) Plan On Using Your Ceiling Fan This Winter.
Often times homeowners believe their ceiling fan is for warm weather use only. An easy trick to help circulate warm air this Winter is to flip the rotation of your fan’s blades (clockwise in Winter). This will help your home stay warmer, reduce heating costs, and possibly prevent the need for extra space heaters or blankets. Now is the time to get up there and clean those fan blades too, it’s amazing how dirty those suckers can get.
10) C’Mon, Cleaning Is Not Just Done In Spring:
Before you batten down the hatches at your house for the Winter take some time to do some deep cleaning. In areas such as the kitchen and bathroom you will probably have to breakout all your heavy cleaners, so being able to keep good airflow is important. Often forgotten areas that can get filthy are the vent screen on your range hood, behind your stove, and in and around your refrigerator. Clean your linens and carpets now to help keep allergies and sickness to a minimum this year. Make sure your garbage disposal is up to the challenge this Holiday Season by running some eggs shells, fish bones, or small fruit pits through it regularly. This will keep the insides of the disposal clear. Also running some citrus peels down there (along with soap) will keep the disposal smelling fresh.
Tackle these jobs now and you’ll be sure to save money and reduce stress when your guests come calling in the next few months. By getting your home ready for the rough weather ahead you will have confidence that your focus stays where it should this Winter; on fantasy football, food, and family. Enjoy!