Home maintenance can be expensive but not nearly as costly as the price of neglect. Not only can you avoid costly repairs by keeping your home well maintained but you can also avoid serious risks to your family’s health such as mold and carbon monoxide poisoning. That said, here are the tasks that you should do this fall to keep your home and appliances in good working order. If you rent, ask your landlord if and when they plan on performing these maintenance tasks. Even if you don’t have ownership interest in the property, you could still have extra expenses from poorly functioning appliances and the health risks are the same for owners and renters.
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Inspect Heating System
You should have your heating system cleaned and inspected every year before you turn it on. This will help the system to work at peak efficiency and can identify potential hazards such as poor ventilation and cracked or damaged parts. Be sure to change the filters throughout the year as recommended by your owner’s manual.
Clean Gutters and Rain Pipes
These should be cleaned of all debris after all of the leaves fall to ensure that rainwater and melting snow drain away off of your roof and away from the sides of your house. Clogged gutters and drain can result in leaks and other water damage to your home.
Change Batteries on Safety Alarms
An easy way to stay on top of this critical task is to remember to change the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide alarms twice a year during the time change. You’ll also want to check to make sure they are in good working order and replace as necessary. While you’re at it, check all of your fire extinguishers to make sure they are not expired.
Remove or Insulate Air Conditioner
If you have a window unit put a weather cover on it to avoid drafts or if practical, remove it altogether.
Inspect Chimneys and Fireplace
Have all chimneys professionally cleaned and inspected. Get your fireplace ready for use by making sure all ashes and soot are removed.
Flush Water Heater
Drain it completely and flush all the sediment out to prevent build up that can affect the flow and quality of your hot water.
Install Storm Windows
Take off any screen windows that you have and if you have them, put on the storm windows. Seal any drafts or cracks around windows and doors to make sure that the cold air doesn’t get in and your warm air doesn’t escape.
Fall and spring are great times to do a thorough deep clean of your house. Thoroughly clean behind your refrigerator including vacuuming dust off all the coils, your range hood, your dryer vent and other seldom-seen areas where grime and dust can accumulate to create a fire hazard. Take inventory of your storage areas and take all hazardous materials that you no longer need (leftover paint, old batteries, etc) to be properly disposed of.
Many of these maintenance tasks can be do it yourself projects but don’t hesitate to call a professional if you don’t know what you are doing and to get inspections done. A little money out of pocket can save you a lot of cash, time and aggravation down the road not to mention help to keep you and your family safe and healthy. In the future, consider taking the pain out of these seasonal expenses by starting a home maintenance fund.