Where did the summer go? Already the weather is getting colder, and the leaves are changing. Since we're heading into heating season, we put together this home maintenance checklist to keep you running efficiently over the winter, and hopefully even save you some money in the long run!
1. Check the key problem areas in your home for heat loss
There are several simple steps you can take to keep your home sealed up tight:
Windows and doors - the weatherstripping and caulk around your windows, doors and thresholds can wear down and deteriorate over time, which allows air to creep in and out. Sealing up these drafts can save you up to 20% on your heating bill (thanks, U.S. Dept of Energy) so it's a good idea to fill in cracks by replacing worn out weatherstripping and missing caulk. Tip: Try closing your doors and windows on a strip of paper. If the paper slides easily, you have a gap that needs to be sealed. You can also (carefully!) hold a candle close to your windows, electrical outlets, and the entry points for your electrical, cable, phone, and gas. If the candle starts flickering, then you've found a draft that needs to be sealed up.
Interior insulation - if you can feel air coming in through the walls or electrical outlets, you may need to add some additional insulation, which can make a big difference in your heating costs.
2. Check your furnace, gas heater, electrical box, and water tank
First clear out clutter and storage boxes that may have piled up, so these areas are accessible for servicing and in case of an emergency.
Furnace - your furnace should be inspected annually by a professional. This is also a good time to have your furnace filter cleaned or replaced. Continue cleaning the filter monthly to keep it free of debris and your furnace working efficiently.
3. Check key problem areas to avoid water damage
Water damage can become a big problem in winter when heavy snows combine with frozen ground. It's best to stay on top of these potential problem areas, because once you can see the water damage, it's probably already become a big (aka expensive) issue.
Clean out your water backup valve or sump pump to make sure everything is in good working order.
Schedule an appointment to have your interior and exterior drains inspected and cleaned to eliminate blockages, tree roots and pipe deterioration. Click here to read why drain cleaning should be preventative and not an emergency measure.
Put away your outdoor hose and shut off your outdoor water faucets.
Clean your gutters and drains of any leaves and other debris.
Plan for water efficiency - fall is a great time to update older appliances that use a lot of water, such as washing machines, toilets, shower heads and faucets, to newer EnergyStar certified models.
Check your roof - something as small as a shingle blown off your roof in a storm can cause extensive water damage, which is why taking small actions now can save you thousands of dollars later. Use a ladder, pair of binoculars or camera with a zoom to check your roof for damaged and missing shingles. Check to ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage and pay attention for damage to the metal flashing in roof valleys and around vents and chimneys.
4. Get your septic tank pumped out
If your home has a septic system and you are due for a pump out soon (EPA suggests pumping out your tank every 3-5 years) then it's a smart idea to schedule it for the fall, as snow and frozen ground make your whole system difficult to access. Read more about preparing your septic for winter here.
Ready to schedule your pump out? Give us a call today at (860) 432-5996 to experience the ADB Septic Advantage.
5. Check your chimney and attic.
Here's a few more major areas where the damage often becomes a major problem before you even notice:
Chimney - have your chimney cleaned and inspected before you start using it to ensure there is no build-up, the flue is clean and there are no repairs needed.
Crawl spaces and attics - check for damage and small openings, unwanted critters, and inspect the condition of your insulation. Sometimes in older homes these areas are not well insulated, which can have a huge impact on your heating bill.
6. Check the exterior of your home for cracks and damaged vents
If you don't, you might as well roll out the red carpet to mice and other critters looking to escape the cold weather.
7. Check walkways, decks, and stairs, secure your outdoor furniture and test your outdoor lights
The last thing you need to deal with this winter is an injury.
Repair cracks and dips in your walkways and driveway now to keep them hazard-free when the weather turns icy. Small cracks are well within the ability of a DIYer but save major repairs for the professionals.
A fresh coat of paint or sealer will protect your decks, stairs, and other areas soon to be covered in snow.
Test your outdoor lighting to make sure you can clearly see icy areas.
8. Clean out your garage
Leave the spring cleaning for your home. Clean out your garage in the fall to keep it clear of unwanted pests, and make sure you're ready to get back out in the yard or garden as soon as the warm weather rolls back around.
Clear out dangerous or flammable materials before you pile it full of outdoor furniture and summer tools or supplies.
Walk the perimeter of your garage to check for holes and cracks that small critters could squeeze through.
Ensure your shovels and rakes are easily accessible.
9. Clear overhanging and dead tree branches
Snow is heavy! Cut back those damaged and overhanging tree branches now, before the weight of the snow causes them to break and damage your home or garage.
10. Keep that humidifier running
Dry winter air isn't only tough on your skin and lungs! It can be tough on the fine wood in your home as well; dry wood is more prone to cracking. Maintain portable humidifiers throughout your home or give your central humidifier a thorough inspection before getting it up and running.
11. Check your safety equipment
Smoke detectors, carbon monoxide detectors and fire extinguishers should be inspected once a year.
Want the list to go? Download it here
We’ve got your back
If you do end up needing to call a pro…we’d love to be your team! We offer state-of-the-art technology, professional and knowledgeable technicians, fair rates and detailed service reports. If you’ve had trouble already this year with your septic system, you should have it checked out before the cold weather sets in. We can help with problems such as:
· Waterlogged drain field
· Repairing and replacing leaking or sagging pipes
We’re also open for emergencies 24/7, even weekends and holidays. Experience the ADB Septic Advantage today. Call us at (860) 432-5996 or visit us online at adbseptic.com.