Certain home maintenance tasks should be completed each season to prevent structural damage, save energy, and keep all your home's systems running properly.
Although our winters in the south are much less extreme than in other regions, winterizing our homes is still a very important task, no matter where you live.
1. GET YOUR HEATING SYSTEM IN ORDER
Schedule your fall HVAC checkup, for a heating tune-up. Make sure your HVAC professional checks all electrical connections, lubricates any moving parts if necessary, and inspects the condensate drain and trap.
2. CLEAN YOUR GUTTERS
Debris in your gutters can easily divert water onto the roof or siding, setting the stage for mold & rot, and dramatically shortening the lifespan of shingles and paint. Now is the perfect time to inspect and clean your gutters, as the leaves are dropping.
3. PUT AWAY LAWN AND GARDEN EQUIPMENT
Pick up anything in the yard that could be damaged by cold or ice, such as garden tools, hoses & nozzles, patio furniture and accessories.
4. TRIM BACK VEGETATION
Here in the south, we have a wide variety of plants that grow year round. It's important to keep an eye on whether they're encroaching on the roof and walls. Trim trees so that branches don't hang over the roof, and keep heavy, dense growth away from siding. A good rule of thumb is to trim back bushes and shrubs so there's enough room to walk easily between plantings and your house.
5. PICK UP A PAINT BRUSH
Fall is a great time to paint your home's exterior if necessary. Also, it's the perfect time for sealing all surfaces before winter's moisture has a chance to do damage.
6. CHECK WEATHERSTRIPPING AND CAULK
Open all your exterior doors and check the weatherstripping. If yours is crumbly or has gaps, replace it. Inspect windows and doors for any gaps between the trim and exterior siding that allow air to penetrate from the outside; these gaps should be caulked.
7. KEEP RODENTS OUT
Let’s face it: Southern rodents are about as inclined towards cold weather as southern humans, and as soon as the weather turns chilly, many homeowners are aghast to hear the distant pitter-patter of little paws in the house. There are many ways to keep furry friends from taking up residence in your home, but the best and most effective approach is a preventative one. Starting in early fall, comb the exterior and interior of the house, looking for any possible entry point for pests. Pay special attention to any areas where pipes, wires, or ductwork enters the house, and eliminate space around them with close-fitting wire mesh, caulk, rodent-proof spray foam, or steel wool. Remember: Mice can get though a hole the size of a dime.
8. CHECK YOUR INSULATION
Your home looses heat trough the attic. Add insulation to protect against heat loss. There should be about a foot of insulation in the attic, so if you can see your 10 inch ceiling joists, it’s time to get more.
9. REVERSE CEILING FANS
instead of pulling hot air up, like in the summer, reverse your fans to blow the hot air back into circulations, cutting energy costs.
10. GET YOUR CHIMNEY INSPECTED (that is, if you have one)
Before you start roasting chestnuts on an open fire, have a certified chimney sweep inspect and clean your chimney. Thousands of fires each winter originate in chimneys. A chimney sweep can check the structure of your flue and remove any combustibles or obstructions in your chimney. For more information on finding a chimney sweep, visit the Chimney Safety Institute of America’s website at csia.org.