Although it may not have cooled off in Charleston quite yet, September has arrived and fall is upon us. As the days get shorter and the seasons change, its time to think about getting your home ready for cooler weather. Follow William Means’ fall maintenance checklist to keep your house in peak condition during the fall and winter. If you’re thinking of selling your home, it’ll serve you and your buyer’s peace of mind well to take care of these maintenance items before the home inspection.
Service your HVAC unit. First things first. After your air conditioner has been on blast all summer, its a good idea to have a professional come out and evaluate your HVAC unit’s health before you rely on its efficiency to keep you warm throughout the colder temperatures. While the technician is at your home, make sure they take a look at the insulation around the connecting pipes to ensure it is in good condition. If the insulation is damaged, this results in lost energy which makes the unit work harder to maintain the desired indoor comfort level. If you haven’t changed your air filter this month, you’ll want to make sure to add this to your monthly to-do list to keep your HVAC unit running efficiently and to keep the indoor air clean.
Seal cracks around doors and windows. In order to keep the heat from leaving your home, and the cold air from entering your home, you’ll want to check the windows and doors for any gaps or cracks. This can easily be done by moving your hand around the frame to check for any drafts of air. Applying fresh weatherstripping around the frames and caulk to any open gaps will majorly cut down on energy costs. While you’re at it, check the garage door to make sure there are no drafts of air coming in around the frame. If you see a gap, or feel a draft of air, the weatherstripping should be replaced.
Check your smoke detectors. Testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors should be done monthly to ensure they are working properly. While the specific way to test your detectors depends on which type is installed in your home, most detectors have an easily accessible test button on the face of the device. After pressing this button, the alarm should sound. If you do not hear the alarm or it is not loud enough, consider replacing the battery and testing the device again. If the device still doesn’t seem to be working correctly, it could be faulty and should be replaced as soon as possible. Batteries in your detectors should be replaced once a year. This is an easy do-it-yourself task that can likely prevent a tragedy.
Chimney sweep. Speaking of fires, make sure to have your fireplace and chimney inspected before you think about building that first fall fire. To ensure your chimney is in working order and operating as it should, it is recommended that homeowners get a professional chimney sweep done annually. This cleaning will help remove blockages and built-up creosote from different parts of your chimney. If you haven’t used your fireplace in a while, pests may have built nests that could also clog the airways. Also, be sure to add a chimney cap if you don’t already have one — it will stop critters from crawling down your chimney and into your home!
Clean gutters and downspouts. Once most of the leaves have fallen, it is important to have your gutters and downspouts checked to make sure they aren’t clogged with leaves and debris. Clogged gutters and downspouts prevent the flow of water and will likely cause wood rot, pest infestations and the need for replacement. If you don’t feel comfortable climbing on a ladder to check these yourself, it is worth it to call a professional to come out and evaluate since this maintenance item will save you from spending money on potentially highly expensive repairs.
Check railings for safety. Make navigating around your home safer by checking to make sure all porch and deck railings are sturdy and in good shape. If you live in a climate that gets ice and snow, you and your guests will need something sturdy to hold onto when the grounds become icy and slippery. Since this might be something that isn’t often checked, add this to your yearly fall maintenance checklist to ensure your railings stay in tip-top shape year round.
Now that you’ve checked these items off of your home maintenance checklist, all there’s left to do to get ready for fall in Charleston is hang a new wreath and light your favorite fall candles. If you’re thinking of moving, William Means agents are dedicated to providing knowledgeable service throughout the entire process. Happy fall, y’all!