If you feel that you are always doing maintenance on your home, you are not alone. But the truth is that homes require regular maintenance. Fall is here and time to get to work.
Fall home maintenance can help your home keep you comfortable, dry and healthy. Because of the temperature changes and potential for severe weather, the fall is an opportune time to check your roof, gutters, furnace and chimney.
Most do not realize that hurricane season goes on through the end of November, which means we could experience severe weather events beyond Thanksgiving. Do not wait until a storm arrives, check your roof to make sure you stay dry this season. Although today’s commonly used roofing materials are meant to last 25-50 years, it does not mean that it is maintenance free. Even if your roof was replaced recently, it is a good idea to have a licensed roofer inspect it for lifting, broken, or missing shingles. The roofer should also inspect for loose or missing flashing and damaged ridge vents. To prolong the roof’s life, any damage should be repaired immediately.
The trees shed their leaves during the fall, and lots of leaves end up in the gutters and downspouts. Gutters and downspouts are designed to carry water away from your home to prevent water penetration in your basement. If the gutters and downspouts are clogged, the system becomes inefficient or doesn’t work at all. Many homeowners clean the gutters without checking the downspouts. A clogged downspout will essentially make a clean gutter ineffective. Additionally, gutters can become loose over time and won’t function as intended. Clogged and/or damaged gutters and downspouts should also be repaired immediately.
Because temperatures tend to get colder during the fall, it is recommended to have your furnace inspected and cleaned by a licensed HVAC technician. The purpose of the fall inspection is to ensure the furnace is operating safely and efficiently. A well-maintained furnace can help it last beyond the average life expectancy. Cleaning and testing the furnace components (such as the blower, ignition and electronics) as well as replacing filters will help increase the system’s efficiency. Furnaces are becoming increasingly complex machines that require specialized training to inspect and repair. Even furnace air filters can be difficult to replace in newer models (some filters are only available from the manufacturer). If your furnace uses a combustible fuel (such as natural gas, oil, propane, etc), test your home’s carbon monoxide detectors. CO detectors have a limited life span and must be replaced if not working properly.
If your home has a fireplace, schedule a chimney inspection before the evening temperatures get colder. Because proper fireplace and chimney operation is a health and safety matter, do not put it off. Regardless if your fireplace is wood or gas burning, regular maintenance requires an inspection and cleaning. Any repairs should be completed prior to usage. The chimney should also be inspected, cleaned and repaired as necessary by a qualified licensed contractor. A well-maintained fireplace and chimney will help properly vent carbon dioxide out of the home, and can prevent a chimney fire.
Many homeowners put off fall home maintenance because it is tedious. To save time, many home owners are hiring a “Home Service Company” that manages seasonal home maintenance. Some maintenance programs are essentially “bundled” handyman services. However, before hiring a home service company for your fall maintenance, check that they have properly licensed service techs.
Dan Krell is a Realtor® with RE/MAX Platinum Realty in Bethesda, MD. You can access more information at www.DanKrell.com.