Fall Home Maintenance Tips
With the leaves turning colour, the chill in the evening air, and the shortened daylight hours, it's time to do a few things to prepare our homes for the upcoming winter season. There is an extensive list available on the CMHC website; there are quite a few items that seem complicated - if you don't understand, or feel over your head, there are an abundance of professionals out there who can help you with any questions that you may have. Don't underestimate the importance of hiring someone who knows what they are doing - I just had my furnace repaired (after a few chilly weeks without heat), and learned a few valuable lessons on maintaining my home and furnace.
CMHC's Extensive Home Maintenance Schedule can be viewed here:
Here are a few hi-lights of the list:
- Check all of your fire/smoke and carbon monoxide detectors (and replace their batteries).
- Clean your gutters/eavestroughs.
- Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.
- Ensure all windows and doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace weatherstripping and door sweeps if required.
- Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement. *This is especially crucial in Edmonton, where springtime melting can cause major water damage to basements.
- If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.
- From the ground, check the general condition of the roof and note any sagging that could indicate structural problems requiring further investigation from inside the attic. Note the condition of shingles for possible repair or replacement, and examine roof flashings, such as at chimney and roof joints, for any signs of cracking or leakage.
- Remove interior insect screens from windows to allow air from the heating system to keep condensation off window glass and to allow more free solar energy into your home.
- Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).
* If you find yourself without heat, or have any problems with your furnace, you can call the Atco Gas Emergency Line: 780-420-5585. They will likely send out a technician to troubleshoot the problem, usually for free.
- Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer. *Ask the service company if there are other items that need to be addressed from the CMHC checklist.
- If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean, cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power.
- Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
- Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate. Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.
- Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months. *My furnace has two different filters - one electric filter that can be replaced, and one metal mesh-style filter that can be vacuumed - I replaced the electric filter components faithfully, not knowing that the air was going straight through the dirty, gross metal filter that was clogged with dust. Check yours for both!
Owning a home is a big responsibility, and sometimes busy life can overwhelm all of these little "to do's". One excellent resource if you are feeling overwhelmed is to consider having your home inspected by a property inspector. An inspector will be able to identify areas that need attention, and help you decide which items you can do yourself, and what you may need a professional's help with. I am available for you anytime as well, if you need referrals of home professionals, call anytime!
And of course, I am never too busy for any of your referrals!