Every home owner knows that seasonal maintenance is something that needs to be done, but where do you start? This is especially important for the upcoming cooler weather. Check out our easy tips and tricks that you can do at home to avoid potential issues.
1. Furnace Maintenance
Your furnace should be serviced at least once a year. It’s best to do this early in the fall, before you need to turn it on for the winter. This ensures that it’s operating properly and efficiently, and that there are no dangerous issues that have gone unnoticed; such as carbon monoxide leaks due to a cracked heat exchanger.
What can you do to prepare your furnace for the fall and winter?
- Change the Air Filter– Your air filter is easy to access, and should be changed about every 3-6 months. If you have pets or live in a dusty climate, you may want to consider replacing it every 2-4 months.
- Clean the Combustion Chamber – Using a wire brush and a shop vacuum, you can remove carbon build-up from the combustion chamber. This prevents corrosion and allows for a longer furnace life, and also better energy efficiency!
- Inspect the Flue – The flue is the pipe that sends exhaust outside of your home. You can inspect it and check for leaks; sealing any small leaks with foil tape. Large leaks and corrosion may require you to replace the flue.
- Clean Floor Vents – You should clean your floor registers with a vacuum every year, to make sure that they are not blocked, and that debris does not fall into the furnace.
These are easy enough for just about anyone to do, and performing these DIY steps on your own can save you some money in the end.
2. Shut Off Exterior Faucets
To avoid a hefty bill, it is important to shut off the water supply to your exterior faucets from inside your home. If you fail to do so, the pipes leading to it may crack and freeze, which can cause leaks; and these can be expensive to replace.
If you have a “frost-free” faucet, you may not need to do this. A good rule of thumb to follow is that; if a faucet knob is perpendicular to the house, it is frost-free. This uses what’s called a “frost-free sillcock” to prevent freezing. So, make sure to double-check – just in case!
If your sillcock is not frost-free, there should be a shut-off valve for the exterior faucet. This is located somewhere on the pipe. Locate this, and shut it off. Then, make sure to open up the outside faucet and open the adjacent bleeder valve to drain out any remaining water.
3. Flush Your Hot Water Heater
Flushing your water heater can help remove sediment from the tank which ultimately could prolong its lifespan. The fall season is the perfect time to do this!
If you’re not handy and don’t like working with tools, you may want to hire a professional to do this. It’s not expensive, and the cost of a maintenance call is small; compared to the cost of replacing your water heater in the end.
If you want to try to do it yourself, though, this guide from Family Handyman is a good place to start. You’ll save a little money, and learn more about how your water heater works!
Related: 20 Essential Tools for Every Homeowner
4. Winterize A/C System
Your air conditioner can be damaged by the ice, snow, debris, and other weather-related conditions of the fall and winter. That means you should winterize it before it gets too cold outside.
Winterizing your A/C is simple to do.
- Simply begin by removing grass, leaves, twigs, and other debris from the unit itself. Then, use a garden hose to rinse it, and remove more debris, dirt, and dust.
- Allow the unit to dry, then cut off the electrical power at the electrical circuit, to keep it from switching on if a day is unexpectedly warm. After this, install rubber pipe insulation around the pipes to protect against freezing.
- Lastly, cover your unit with an A/C cover to keep ice, snow, and other debris from building up on it.
DIY at its best!
Related: 5 DIY Projects that Might be on Your Inspection Report
5. Weatherproof Your Doors
Weatherproofing a door is the process of examining the weather stripping and gaps in your doors. This is done in order to determine if they may cause a draft or leaks, and then making sure to replace weather stripping and other elements, as necessary.
In order to weatherproof doors in the home; first – inspect the door. If you can see light coming through; chances are that it’s drafty – and needs to be weatherproofed. If so, you can use caulk to fill up minor gaps, or use backer rod to fill in larger gaps. You may also want to replace damaged weather stripping on the interior or exterior of the door.
Want to weatherproof your doors yourself? Here’s a comprehensive guide on what you’ll need to do!
Weatherproofing helps prevent water from getting into your home, and also help to eliminate drafts – which can reduce the effectiveness of your heating systems, and raise your utility bills (and no one wants that).
Weatherproofing can also help prevent damage to the subfloor below your exterior doors. If moisture and dampness get inside, it can eat away at the floor material which can lead to serious issues such as mold and mildew.
A properly weatherproofed door won’t need to be redone for several years, but if you live in a harsh climate, you may need to replace weatherproofing more often.
Simply put – it is best to examine your doors every year. If you notice gaps or drafts, you know that weatherproofing needs to be done; but if not – you’re good to go for another year!
With these simple tips, you can make sure that your weatherproofing lasts longer – and that you won’t have to keep redoing your doors every year.