Fall is here! And with it comes fall weather. So it's time to pay attention to home maintenance and repairs. If you're thinking about selling your home in the near future, our brokers can offer advice on important fall maintenance tips.
In the Pacific Northwest, the fall season is the beginning of chilly temperatures, heavy rainfall, and snow and ice. Preparing your home with necessary maintenance before cold weather sets in will protect against costly damages and keep your family warm and comfortable. Take a look at 10 fall maintenance tips that you should not ignore:
- Check Your Roof
Look for damaged or missing roof shingles that may lead to water leaks in the attic and the walls. Water leaks can cause a variety of costly damages including rotten beams, ruined insulation, and dangerous black mold that is toxic.
- Clean Out Your Gutters
While you have your ladder handy, clean out your gutters and downspouts. A shop vac works great for removing dirt, debris, and leaves, but if you don't have one try an old plastic spatula. It's considerably slower but it won't scratch your gutters. Clogged gutters can cause roof and siding leaks, as well as foul-smelling standing water that attracts mosquitoes and insects.
- Mow Your Lawn Shorter
When temperatures start dropping, it's best to mow your lawn with a shorter cut. After you rake up dead leaves and debris, set your mower to cut the grass at 1-1/2 to 2 inches high. This will prevent tall grass and weeds from smothering new spring growth and reduce the chance of unwanted lawn pests and mold that often forms on snow.
- Prepare Your Lawn for Winter
After mowing the yard, prep your lawn for winter weather with fertilizer and water. Choose a fertilizer that's labeled 4-1-2 with good nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium levels to help grass store nutrients. If you have sprinklers, give your lawn a good soaking, check sprinkler pipes and heads for leaks, and wrap your above-ground pipes with insulation before freezing temperatures arrive.
- Clean Out Your Chimney
There's nothing like a warm roaring fire in freezing winter temperatures to keep your family cozy. Fall means it's time to call a professional to inspect and clean your chimney and test your fireplace flue for a tight seal that eliminates drafts. For added protection, invest in a chimney screen to prevent birds and squirrels from building nests because they look for safe, warm winter homes in the winter.
- Touch Up Your Exterior Paint
If your house needs a paint job, take care of this task before winter. Paint doesn't handle extreme hot or cold temperatures well, even if it's outdoor paint. In freezing temperatures, paint gets very thick and doesn't spread evenly with rollers or brushes. Cold weather also prevents the paint from drying properly, so anything that blows into your house can stick to or leave ugly marks in the paint.
- Service Your Heating System
If you're like most homeowners, you likely have a central heating and air conditioning system. To ensure heat during winter weather, schedule a fall appointment with a professional HVAC technician to inspect and clean your furnace unit, usually located in the garage or a hall closet. Since your heat hasn't been turned on in a year or so, it's essential to ensure that your burner isn't leaking carbon monoxide.
- Check Windows and Doors
During the fall, inspect your windows and doors for unwanted drafts. Add weatherstripping to ensure tight seals, inspect and replace any damaged glass in windows and sliders, and replace or repair any damaged window or door frames. Drafts will make your home chillier during winter and your heating bills will be higher from running your furnace around the clock.
- Clean Heating and Dryer Vents
Dirty vents obstruct proper airflow. Clogged interior air vents will prevent proper heating into your home and keep you feeling colder during the winter. Dirty dryer vents with lint buildup can make your dryer less efficient and even start a fire caused by static electricity that ignites.
- Check Your Safety Devices
While doing fall maintenance, take time to check home safety devices. (1) Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and replace old batteries; (2) Check your fire extinguisher's expiration date and replace it if necessary; (3) Check your home for radon gas levels of 4 or above which is considered dangerous by the Environment Protection Agency (EPA).
If you're considering buying or selling in the Washington area, contact us for available properties. We have many available homes that may be just what you're looking for.