Cooling temperatures, strong winds, and falling leaves are a strong reminder that winter is just around the corner. Now is the time to prepare your home so you’re well-protected from winter’s wrath.
Follow these helpful fall maintenance tips to ensure you’re ready to withstand whatever Mother Nature throws at your house and property.
Check the Gutters
Blockages in your home’s gutters can lead to ice dams. Ice dams are dangerous and costly as melting snow and ice forces its way under the shingles of your roof. This can cause leaks and mold, plus the additional weight of the ice can cause the gutters to tear away from the fascia.
Critters also love to make homes in a dark, damp, dirty gutter. Consequently, it is very important to clean and check the gutters, connections, and downspouts annually. Water should flow well away from your home.
Check Shrubs & Trees
Check the trees and shrubs in your yard for overgrowth and dead branches. Prune them away to improve appearance and promote new growth in the spring.
If a tree appears to be dying, call an arborist to remove it. Otherwise, it could fall on your home, car, fence, garage, or the neighbor’s property, forcing you to file an insurance claim.
Don’t let leaves smother the grass over the winter. Rake them up and add them to your compost pile. They’re a great way to add organic material to your garden, without buying expensive bags from the garden center.
Get a Roof Inspection
The roof of your home protects the structure and your belongings. Don’t assume you can ignore your roof just because it has a long warranty.
Manufacturer warranties only protect you if materials fail. They do not protect you if you fail to perform regular roof maintenance. As a result, many manufacturers require proof of an annual roof inspection and maintenance.
Additionally, a roof inspection is a great way to detect small problems before they become major issues. Hire a professional that provides documentation and the equipment needed to perform this dangerous work.
Check Foundation, Siding, Windows & Doors
Walk around your home and look for signs of damage. Seal gaps or holes in the siding or around doors and windows. Replace deteriorated caulk, and damaged weather stripping or door sweeps.
Evaluate Walkways, Railings, Stairs & Driveway
Inclement weather makes movement on your property much more difficult. Consequently, it is very important that everything is in good repair.
Grabbing onto a rickety handrail to prevent a fall could lead to it coming away, causing bodily harm and perhaps a lawsuit. A large crack in the driveway could easily become a tripping hazard when covered with snow.
If you live in a snowy region, now’s the time to pull out the snow shovels and ice scrapers. Buy a bag of pet-safe crystals to melt ice and restock your emergency kits too. Include one in each vehicle driven during the winter. There’s nothing more scary and dangerous than being stranded on a quiet road in the dark when it’s very cold outside.
Check Heating Devices
Since we spend so much time indoors during the winter and use heating devices more often, it is vital they function well. Schedule a call from a qualified heating specialist so they can service your furnace or boiler. Also consider cleaning furnace ducts to improve air quality.
Order an inspection of any fireplaces, wood stoves, and chimneys. This removes soot, blockages and built-up creosote from your chimney liner, firebox, smoke chamber and damper so they function optimally. Don’t forget to clean the dryer vent too to increase efficiency and prevent fires.
Audit Safety Devices
Test all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and replace batteries as needed. Units over ten years old should be replaced as they become less sensitive over time.
Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher too and restock your first aid kit. If you haven’t checked your home for the presence of radon, consider doing it now. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends a radon level or less than 4.
When was the last time you went over your home insurance coverage with your agent? If it has been awhile, give us a call. It’s time to do an insurance review to realign your policies with your needs. We’ll review all of your insurance policies to ensure that you don’t have any coverage gaps.