If the pandemic has taught us anything about the way we live, it’s that our homes are our sanctuaries. Homeowners are increasingly seeing their home as a place where all needs—work, school,
Fall Home Maintenance
Dated: September 25 2018
It’s officially autumn in Texas, even if it doesn’t quite feel any different yet. It’s coming. It might be next week, or it might be in January, but rest assured that the temperatures, rain, and leaves will fall at some point in the near future. Fortunately, our milder climate allows us some extra time to prepare for colder weather. Here’s what you need to do to keep your home protected during the changing seasons.
Fall weather often includes rain, and water can cause damage if it’s able to get inside your home. One of the first things to do when cooler weather comes around is to check the condition of caulk around doors, windows, and exterior trim. Summer heat can dry caulk out, and fluctuating temperatures can cause it to crack over time. Remove and re-caulk where needed to ensure that your home is sealed and protected from the elements. While you’re at it, check weather stripping around windows and doors as well. If you see light or feel air coming in around a closed door or window, it’s time to replace the weather strip to keep water and drafts out of your home. As an added bonus, sealing up your home will prevent pests from moving in!
When the leaves begin to fall, they’re likely to end up in the gutters. Gutters full of leaves not only clog up, but they can also get heavy, causing the seams to loosen or break. Throughout the season, check your gutters for a buildup of leaves and clean them out as needed. Check brackets and screws to make sure everything is tight and holding as expected. Finally, make sure downspout trays are directing water away from your home’s foundation, not toward it, and that the water isn’t puddling up after rain showers. Pooling water can spell trouble for your home’s foundation.
Protect your pipes from freezing up in the winter by insulating them. Any pipes outside your home, or inside near interior walls will be vulnerable, if we have a deep freeze. Inexpensive insulation sleeves, outlet covers, and water heater covers can be purchased at home improvement stores. Also consider adding a rain and freeze sensor to your sprinkler system to prevent icy sidewalks or watering on a rainy day. If you won’t be using your sprinkler system once the weather cools, be sure to drain the system to prevent burst pipes.
Schedule seasonal maintenance on your furnace or HVAC system before using the heat. A chilly day isn’t the best to time discover that there’s a problem, and regular service can prolong the life of your systems. Change filters and clean dust off of ducts as well for optimal performance.
Clean your chimney and fireplace. Schedule a chimney sweep to clean out any build-up inside your chimney, inspect the flue, and to check the vent on the roof for obstructions or damage. Remove any unused bird nests or any other debris, and make sure vent screens are fully intact. If your fireplace is gas operated, test it out early in the season to make sure all is in working order. Call in the professionals to repair any issues with the gas line. If you have a wood burning fireplace, now is a good time to begin stocking up on wood, but be sure to store it several feet from your home and off the ground to help reduce the risk of termites, carpenter ants, and other pests that might love to move in. This is also a good time to check your fire extinguisher’s expiration date and replace if needed. While you’re at it, change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors, too. Fireplace use means a higher risk for fires and smoke.
Fall is also a great time to plant grass seed, even though it may not seem like it since most grass will go dormant in cooler weather. During this time of year, grass will establish and grow deep roots. Don’t forget to trim branches that are near utilities, gutters, and roof lines, prune trees and shrubs, and apply fertilizer to your lawn. These simple chores can help encourage healthy growth in the spring and prevent outages after storms. While you’re outside, clean and cover patio furniture, or put it away for the season, if you won’t be using it, to protect it from the elements.
Finally, test your exterior lights for burned out bulbs, and clean off solar light sensors. Daylight savings time ends in the fall, and we move our clocks up one hour. This means daylight will end earlier, and exterior lights will get more use. Sensors for solar or daylight sensing light fixtures need to be wiped off periodically as dirt and dust can block the sunlight, impacting their efficiency.
By taking advantage of mild weather and checking these minor items off your list now, you’ll be able to enjoy the cooler weather more, when it does come, without fewer surprise repairs and more peace of mind.
And if you’re looking for a new place to call your home before the holiday hustle and bustle, now is a good time to get started. Homes in our area have been taking an average of 42 days to go under contract, and the buying process can take up to 10 weeks from start to finish, according to MLS statistics and the National Association of Realtors annual home buyer profile.
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Lauren is a lifetime North Texas resident and graduate from Texas Woman's University. She currently lives in Prosper and has been working in and around her community for the past six years, resulting ....