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Fall Home Maintenance

Blog by Sara Kalke | September 11th, 2012

With yesterday's high of +12, pretty soon we'll have to admit that fall is just a couple weeks away.  With fall comes the yearly checklist of fun home maintenance items to attend to (fun is not entirely serious!).

Below are some lovely home maintenance tips to start checking off your list... I'm still hoping for a few nice weeks, but it's worth looking through to make sure you have a smooth transition into the cooler months ahead!

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Regular Maintenance Is The Key

Here are 25 reminders & tips to get your home ready for Fall & Winter.

1)   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. 

2) 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.
3) Lubricate circulating pump on hot water heating system.
4) Disconnect the power to the furnace and examine the forced-air furnace fan belt, if installed, for wear, looseness or noise; clean fan blades of any dirt buildup.
5) Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.
6) Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.
7) Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.
8) 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.
9) 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.
10) Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.
11) If the heat recovery ventilator has been shut off for the summer, clean the filters and the core, and pour water down the condensate drain to test it.
12) 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).
13) Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.
14) Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.
15) 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.
16) Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.
17) Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weatherstripping if required.
18) 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.
19) Cover outside of air-conditioning units and shut off power.
20) Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.
21) Clean leaves from eavestroughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.
22) 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.
23) Have well water tested for quality. It is recommended that you test for bacteria every six months.
24) If you have a septic tank, measure the sludge and scum to determine if the tank needs to be emptied before the spring. Tanks should be pumped out at least once every three years.
25) Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.