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“We’re Walking In a Winter Wonderland…” on October 31st?!

November 1, 2019

Lake ForestYes, winter is just around the corner (or is it here?)!  Time to get your house in shape for the colder months ahead. Here are some home maintenance ideas that will keep your home running in peak condition all winter long.

EXTERIOR MAINTENANCE

  • Check foundation for cracks, and caulk around the areas where masonry meets siding, where pipes or wires enter the house, and around the windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping. Caulking and sealing openings is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs.  Openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold build up.  Winter can bring very harsh conditions resulting in water or ice damage. A careful check of the outside structure combined with inexpensive maintenance can save you money in the long run.
  • Install storm windows and doors and remove screens. Before storing, clean and repair screens, spray with a protective coating and place in a dry area of the basement or garage.
  • Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing and loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. Without it functioning properly, water damage can occur. This causes deterioration to insulation, wood and drywall, making electrical, plumbing and HVAC systems vulnerable. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.
  • After the leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. If necessary, replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.  Make sure downspouts direct water away from the foundation, sidewalks, and driveways, so that they don’t become icy.
  • If you have a pool, examine your pool cover for damage and replace if necessary.
  • Weather-strip your garage door. Make sure the seal between your garage door and the ground is tight to prevent drafts and keep out small animals.

INTERIOR MAINTENANCE

  • Call an HVAC contractor to test your furnace’s output and give your system a tune-up. This technician can also check to make sure your heating system is not generating hazardous levels of carbon monoxide. The technician should include filter cleaning in his tune-up, but be prepared to replace or clean your filter monthly once you turn on the heat.  (PLEASE NOTE:  2nd Floor high vents should be closed during heating, and the 1st floor low vents should be opened.)
  • Get your fireplace in working order.  Examine your  fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal. Also clean and inspect the glass door for cracks and have the chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep. A clogged chimney poses the risk of a chimney fire, which can be ignited by burning creosote—a combination of wood tar, organic vapors and moisture buildup.
  • Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.
  • Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and keep extra household batteries on hand.

Check basement windows for drafts, loose frames or cracked panes.

  • If you haven’t done so already, turn the dehumidifier OFF and the humidifier ON.  Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.

YARD AND GARDEN

  • Drain garden hoses and store them inside. Also shut off outdoor water valves in cold weather. Any water left in exterior pipes and faucets can freeze and expand breaking the pipes.  If you have an irrigation system, consider having a professional provide necessary seasonal maintenance and repair broken sprinkler heads.

As we look forward to November and celebrating Thanksgiving, we are grateful to have collaborated with so many wonderful families and business partners over the years.  Our best wishes to you and your families for a warm, wonderful holiday season ahead!