Waking up to chilly mornings and the kids being back in school – whatever that may look like – reminds us that it’s time to tackle our fall home maintenance list. A regular schedule of maintenance throughout the year is critical to keeping your home healthy and family safe. These baseline preventative steps are a good start.
Inspect these items and carefully remove any accumulated debris. This check should be completed four times per year to ensure effective draining and avoid damage caused by trapped and accumulated water.
Surface & Underground Drains:
It is important to check and clear surface and underground drains at least four times per year to ensure proper water flow. Underground drains may be located at downspouts, under a driveway or in other areas where you need to redirect water. Surface drains may be at exterior basement stairs, patios, pool decks, etc. As clogged drains can cause water to back up in other areas and cause significant damage, it’s also important to monitor these during heavy rains, clearing debris as needed.
Hose Bibs & Irrigation Systems:
To avoid bursting pipes, turn off exterior hose faucets and irrigation systems before freezing weather sets in, which is typically late October-early November in the Greater DC area. All hose bibs, including those that are “Frost Free,” should be fully drained and irrigation systems should be blown out to avoid freezing during the winter months.
You should have your HVAC systems serviced twice per year, spring and fall, to ensure they are operating at their most efficient levels. The system inspection should include changing the filter, adjusting dampers to favor northern (not southern) rooms, clearing leaves and debris from outside units, checking AC refrigerant, and cleaning the AC condenser. Note that some systems require filter changes more or less frequently, so be sure to consult your manual.
Many homes have a humidifier to help raise the humidity during the dry winter months and improve the health of the home and indoor air quality. This system requires an annual system check, and the fall is the best time. During their visit, your HVAC service company should perform a thorough inspection and replace the pad/cartridge, which can collect deposits from the water source, clog and cause leaks.
Other Important Items to Address this Fall:
- Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.
- Latch windows shut to square them up, seal the weatherstrip and stop drafts.
- Inspect all bathroom caulking and touch up as necessary. Repeat again in the spring.
- Drain 10-15 gallons from the bottom of your water heater once per year to remove sediment.
- Fireplaces and chimneys should be inspected inside and out at least once per year for soundness, deposits and clearance. Have the chimney cleaned or repaired as needed.
- Clean screens in showerheads and faucets annually to ensure optimal water flow.
- For your appliances, consult your manufacturer’s maintenance recommendations, which should include steps such as, cleaning screens on range hood vents, vacuuming refrigerator coils, replacing water filers, and more.
- Your septic system should be inspected and the tank cleaned out once per two-three years.
With this list in hand you’re ready to get to work or schedule service professionals for assistance. If we can help to answer any questions you may have, please let us know.