The Savvy Homeowners Fall Maintenance Checklist: Part 2- Winterize Indoors
If you caught the Part 1 of our Fall Home Maintenance blog then you should be winter ready outside. Now it is time to get to work inside your home with these important fall weather tasks. Just like outdoors, some inexpensive maintenance inside will save you money in the long run.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes the warm air from the ceiling. Speaking from experience, don’t forget to dust before you turn them back on. Oops.
Clean Dryer Vents
Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire — cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself.
Remove Window A/C Units
If you use window air conditioning units in the summer, take them out before the weather turns cold. If you must leave window A/C units in, cover the entire exterior of the unit with an insulating wrap to keep cold air out.
Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $50 to $100 for a checkup. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before the heating season begins.
Change Your Furnace Filters
This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be blown all over your home. When they get clogged, it is harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature. If you use disposable filters, they can be vacuumed once before you have to replace them. Foam filters can also be vacuumed, but they don't need to be replaced unless there is damaged. For proper care of metal or electrostatic filters, remove and wash them with a firm water spray.
Give Your Fireplace A Once-Over
To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight or put your phone on flashlight mode and take a look up inside your fireplace flue and check that the damper opens and closes properly. Make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.
Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar. Make sure that the flue cap is in place. If you see any damage, have a professional inspection done. The safety of your home and family is no joke.
Check Creosote Buildup
Your fireplace flue should be cleaned of creosote buildup every other year or after each cord of wood burned. Creosote is a flammable by-product of burning wood. If deposits accumulate beyond 1/8 inch thick in a flue or chimney, it can catch fire. These deposits should be cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep. A professional chimney sweep will charge $150 to $250 for the service. Even if you use your fireplace only occasionally, you should check it annually for damage and hazards.
Check Home Safety Features
At least once a year, do a top-to-bottom review of your home's safety features and get the family together for a review of your fire evacuation plan. Fall is the perfect time to do this.
Smoke & CO Detectors
You should replace the batteries in each smoke and carbon monoxide (CO) detector annually. Once you have done that, vacuum them with a soft brush attachment to remove any dust. Then test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a like a blown-out candle near the unit. For your families safety, install a smoke detector on every floor of your home.
Each fall when you are checking your detectors, make sure to inspect your fire extinguishers as well. Check the indicator on the pressure gauge of the extinguisher to make sure it is charged. Make certain that the lock pin is intact and firmly in place, and check that the discharge nozzle is not clogged. Clean the extinguisher and check it for dents, scratches, and corrosion. Replace if the damage seems severe.
Every home should have at least one fire extinguisher rated for all fire types. You should have one for each floor of your home and it is especially important to keep one near the kitchen. Fire extinguishers that are more than six years old should be replaced. To keep track of how old they are, just use a permanent marker to write the date of purchase on the new unit.
Fire Escape Plans
Every family and home should have a fire escape plan and fall is the perfect time to plan/review and practice to make sure every family member is aware of what to do in the event of an emergency.
All bedrooms should have two exit paths. You want to ensure easy access to windows, making sure they are not blocked by furniture or other items. Each upper-floor bedroom should have a rope ladder near the window for emergency exits. Don’t forget to arrange a safe meeting place for everyone away from the house.
When the temperatures begin to drop and we can no longer put off turning on the heat, it’s time to clear away any clutter from around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances that may have built up over the summer months. Now is a great time to get rid of those piles of old mail, newspapers and magazines that we know we are never going to read.
As we go through the house and garage, getting out our jackets and winter coats it is the perfect time to sort remove any expired or leftover hazardous household chemicals. Those old paint cans and that box of dead batteries are not paying rent, time to say goodbye. Just remember, never pour chemicals or chemical wastes down the drain. Click on the following links to learn more about Household Hazard Waste Disposal in your area.
Ada County Household Hazardous Waste Facility https://adacounty.id.gov/landfill/WASTE-TYPES-SOLUTIONS/Hazardous-Waste/How-to-Dispose-of-Hazardous-Waste
Stock Up On Winter Supplies
-Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers and replace as needed
-Pick up a bag ice melt
-Restock emergency kits for car and home
Whew, that was a lot. But now that you have completed your fall home maintenance checklist, it is time to enjoy what is left of this spectacular autumn season. Maybe take a brisk morning walk with the last of the summer sun on your face, or have a bonfire with hot cider and friends. Or if you’re like me, turn up the heat and scream encouragement at your favorite team. (Go Broncos!) However you choose to spend your time, we wish you a blessed and happy fall!
-The Team at Eagle Eye, LLC.