Fall is here and winter is around the corner. Here is a list of simple things the homeowner can do to extend the life of their house, its systems and components and help prevent costly repairs in the future.
1. Furnaces, Heat Pumps and Air Handlers: Have your Furnace or heating sources inspected and serviced by a qualified HVAC technician. If you don’t have an annual maintenance program established with a reputable HVAC company now is a good time to get one. While a Home Inspector can conduct visual and functional tests on your heating system only a trained HVAC Technician with the proper diagnostic tools can insure your system is running at peak performance level. This preventative maintenance can add up to substantial savings on your utility bill and help prevent expensive repairs or replacement.
2. Fireplaces and Solid Fuel Stoves: Flues should be cleaned and inspected annually for deterioration, damage and the buildup of creosote. Damage can cause improper burning of the fuels and drafting issues which can lead to carbon monoxide buildup in the living area. Rooms equipped with these appliances should have booth Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors installed. Any needed repairs should be made by a qualified chimney specialist or a competent tradesman.
3. Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Detectors: Batteries on these devices should be changed every six months and tested on a monthly basis.
4. Windows and Doors: Leaking windows and doors caused by damaged or missing weather stripping or caulking can add a significant increase to your utility bill. Weather stripping can compress or deteriorate over time. Caulk and grout can shrink and fall out of place. Repair as needed.
5. Roofs: Roofs should be closely examined for any damaged, worn or missing shingles. Extreme caution should be used before climbing onto any roof. If there is any doubt, hire a professional to inspect your roof. Repairs should be made by a qualified tradesman. Fixing minor damage to your roof can help prevent moisture intrusion which can lead to major damage and costly repairs.
6. Gutters: Gutters should be inspected for any damage or leaks. The leaves are starting to fall and can accumulate in the gutters and restrict water flow. Once the gutters are cleaned you may want to consider installing gutter screens which will help prevent the buildup of debris. Downspouts and extensions should be in place and should direct the water at least 5-6 feet away from the foundation.