When the leaves start falling, winter can’t be far behind. In order to make sure your home will offer you cozy shelter from the coming cold, there are a few simple checks that you should not delay.
It’s wise to perform simple pre-checks of major home operating systems; schedule required maintenance or call for service if you suspect a problem. Be diligent about routine upkeep; replace filters regularly. Check for faucet drips, and make note of unusual appliance or plumbing fixture noises.
Here are five areas you should not ignore:
A tight roof is vital all year long, but especially in the winter. Take a walk around your home’s exterior and look up. Curling or missing shingles, damaged vents and ridge cap, sagging gutters or loose flashing are all signs that you should call a professional for thorough diagnosis.
Visit your attic to check for drafts and daylight. Also check for small holes and signs of insect or rodent infestation. Critters seek winter shelter, but you don’t want to leave an open invitation.
If you have turbine vents on the roof, you may want to cover them before winter arrives, and fall is the perfect time to do that.
As the seasons change and you move from air conditioning to heat, you’ll want to check both for proper operation. With a single integrated system, it’s easy and there’s no need to shut one down to start the other. But if you call a professional to winterize an outside compressor, you might also have thermostat settings checked and recalibrated if necessary.
If you have a separate oil-burning or propane furnace, confirm your fuel is adequate before turning on the heat.
Whether a fireplace is wood-burning or gas-fired, it’s smart to have a professional check the flue and assure that the damper is operating properly. Make certain the gas line is free from obstructions, and that anyone who lights a fire is aware of safety precautions. House fires and deadly fumes are entirely preventable; a seasonal checkup can save lives.
Doors and Windows
Checking the weatherstripping and seals is an easy task, even though it takes some time. Look for cracked or brittle rubber weatherstripping and light leaks, as well as drafts around the perimeters. Also check for signs of moisture on sills and trim.
Door sweeps should graze the floor so that dust and small insects don’t cross the threshold. Adjust and caulk the threshold if necessary. This is also a good time to check locks on both doors and windows.
Outside Hose Bibbs
Outdoor hose bibbs can be problematic in freezing temperatures. Always disconnect hoses for the winter. If you notice any leaks around a hose bibb, call a professional. During severe weather, it can be helpful to wrap those outdoor hose bibbs with foam insulation and a plastic sleeve in an effort to discourage freezing.
A little preventive maintenance pays big dividends when spring finally arrives!
If you are planning to wait until spring to put your home on the market, contact your trusted real estate agent to find out what other steps you could take now to improve your home’s appeal to potential buyers.