While you enjoy the leaves changing this autumn, don’t forget the important maintenance that needs to be done around your home to protect your investment. A little work now can go a long way to protect your property from the weather and pests during the colder seasons. Follow these tips from Dwayne Boggs of Boggs Inspection Services to get started.
Outdoor Fall Maintenance
Time to Tackle Leaves and Yard Debris
A good starting point in fall maintenance is a simple cleanup of leaves and other yard debris that may have accumulated over the year. Place leaves in compost bins, yard waste containers, or use them as mulch for garden beds. Pay careful attention to leaves and debris against your foundation. While rotting leaves won’t do much to the concrete, leaves piled against siding or wooden frames around basement windows can do a lot of damage. “Leaves and debris can also serve as protection for overwintering pests and rodents,” says Dwayne, “and leaves can cover shelter tubes along the foundation, which are like subterranean termite highways.” While you are cleaning up the yard, don’t forget to empty and rollup hoses, or follow winterizing instructions if you have underground sprinklers. Finally, add a layer of beauty bark or mulch to flower beds.
Once the leaves begin to fall, prune your bushes and trees. Smaller trees and shrubs are simple to prune yourself, but you should save the larger trees for the professionals. “Professional tree care can prolong the health of your trees,” Dwayne explains. An arborist can also find and tackle any weakened branches that could come down during a winter storm causing harm to people, animals or structures. When you prune your plants, make sure branches or leaves are not growing against your home, which could serve as a bridge for pest invaders.
Seal Holes around the Exterior (Don’t Forget Garages and Sheds)
After you finish cleaning yard debris and pruning, Dwayne recommends you take a walk around the exterior walls looking for any gaps or cracks that bugs or rodents could use to enter your home. Use silicone caulk for smaller holes. For large gaps use hardware cloth and caulk to keep rodents at bay. Weather stripping and door sweeps on your doors and windows is also useful. Sealing your home can reducing heating costs. While you keep pests out, you also keep more warm air in the home.
Check Rain Gutters and Downspouts
Now is an important time to make sure gutters are clear. Gutters and downspouts help redirect water away from the home, and prevent damage from excessive water running down the side of the house. A clogged or damaged gutter can do more harm that having no gutters at all, as moss and plant growth holds water to the home, where water can wick up the siding or roof. Practice good ladder safety, as you don’t want to damage yourself or your home, or hire a professional.
Indoor Fall Maintenance
Schedule Heating System Service
Before the really cold months set in, now would be a great time to get your home heating system serviced to ensure it is running in top condition. Take this time to make sure you have fresh furnace filters to last the season too. Regular maintenance will prolong the life of your furnace while improving the indoor air quality in your home. Also, make sure furniture, curtains or other obstacles are not blocking wall heaters or air vents that could limit your heating system’s efficiency.
When was the last time you had your chimney swept? “Creosote and ash buildup can cause a fire,” says Dwayne. If you have a fireplace or wood stove, contact a professional chimney sweep to clean your chimney of buildup, as well as ensure no birds’ nests or other debris has collected in the chimney over the summer. They can also look for other causes for concern like cracking in the chimney crown, or worn flashing which could cause rain to leak in and around the chimney.
Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors Battery Check
Now is a great time to ensure you have working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Home fires occur more during the cold months, so you should be prepared. Ensure you have a detector placed at every level of your home, but you may need more than one per level depending on your home’s layout. Replacing old batteries with fresh ones now will ensure you are not woken in the middle of the night to deal with a low battery chirp.
Have You Tested for Radon?
Autumn and winter are the ideal seasons to test your home for radon. During these seasons, the home is closed up more, allowing for more accurate radon collection readings. If you want to know more about radon risks in your home check out this article.
Putting in the work now could save you money and the headache of a midwinter emergency repair. Always check out any professional you hire to ensure they are licensed and insured. A more detailed home inspection is available through Boggs Inspection Services. Give them a call at 360-480-9602 or check them out online.