Fall/ Winter tips to keep your house in top condition

A few items that you can do to help keep your house in top condition. Most of these items can be easily done by yourself and with minimal cost.
These should be done on a yearly basis and can help save you a ton of money in repair costs. These are good to do in the Fall/ Winter to avoid any extra damage that the cold winter weather can bring.

-Check for signs of water damage, look at your interior walls, ceiling, windows and doors. Seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk. Weather-stripping is easily the most cost-effective way to rein in heating and cooling costs. This humble material also reduces drafts and keeps your home more comfortable year-round. Because weather stripping can deteriorate over time, it is important to inspect it periodically.

-Clean out your gutters and down spouts. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water in your basement. They are also more prone to rust and corrosion. Before the leaves fly this fall have your gutters cleaned out so they drain properly. Make sure that the water flows away from your house to avoid any damage to your foundation.

-Drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems. take steps to ensure that outside faucets and inground irrigation systems don’t freeze and burst. Here’s how: Close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, then open the outside faucet to drain the line. (There may be a small cap on the faucet you can loosen to facilitate this draining.) If you don’t have shut-off valves, and your faucets are not “freezeproof ” types, you may benefit from styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers. Have your sprinkler system blown out. Usually this is a hired job, and can cost $50-$100. This will ensure that no water is trapped in the system for it to freeze over winter and to cause breaks.

-Take steps to repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps. Damaged walkways, drives, and steps are a hazard year round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is also critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches. Look for cracks more than 1/8-inch wide, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. Check for disintegration of asphalt, or washed-out materials on loose-fill paths.

-Get on top of roof problems. Inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents. Few homeowner problems are more vexing than a leaky roof. Once the dripping starts, finding the source of the problem can be time-consuming. Stop problems this fall before ice and winter winds turn them from annoyances into disasters. Inspect your chimney, plumbing vent, skylight flashing, and the valley of the roof.

-Give your furnace a physical. Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins. Then maintain the furnace by changing the filter monthly.

-Make sure to remove any debris from your window wells. This will keep critters from making it their home.

-Test smoke and CO detectors. Even if the battery is not beeping it is good practice to replace the battery regularly.

-Ceiling fans: The easiest item on the to-do list. Switch these to the “reverse” mode for winter. The updraft actually forces the hotter air to move downward (remember, hot air rises) and keep the room warmer without adjusting the thermostat. Not only can you do this one for yourself but you save money on energy costs as your furnace shouldn’t have to work nearly as hard to heat your home this winter.