By Dina Petrakis
Maintenance done in the fall saves money and trouble by preventing problems very difficult to repair in winter. Some items to check:
Check to make sure all your windows are fully closed, by LOCKING them. This assures the best seal and saves heat costs.
Clean your gutters: In November, AFTER all the leaves have fallen. Neglect this and risk gutters backing up under the roofing material.
How does the roof look? (using binoculars will tell you more than the naked eye) Curling or shrinking roof shingles signal a need for roof in the near future. On flat roofs, look for “alligatoring” or raised areas.
Chimney- is the tuckpointing still sound? Is is still plumb, and does the cap and flashing look solid?
Check exterior area drains. If leaves have blocked the drain, water will pool up and can flood your home.
Weatherize: Check all exterior caulk and weatherstripping, especially at doors and windows. Replace to reduce heating costs AND prevent cold spots. Remember, lower energy bills = less pollution: a smaller “carbon footprint”. For an easy tutorial video go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nksa62ZJiHQ
Heating systems: Have your furnace or boiler checked by a pro, including carbon monoxide testing for the furnace and water heater.
Install and USE a programmable thermostat, to cut fuel costs when sleeping or not at home. If you already have one, check the winter program against your current schedule and reset.
Lay in a stock of furnace filters and change the filters monthly to improve furnace efficiency.
Replace the filter on your humidifier.
Drain a bucket of water from the water heater, to remove sediment- improves performance and extends life of the heater.
Prevent burst pipes: Shut off water to all your hose bibs (outside faucets), remove the hoses from them, and drain. Review all exposed pipes in basement or crawl space, for any new voids in nearby insulation or weatherstripping.
Check function of and replace smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector batteries.
Check all exterior openings- vents, etc, to prevent rodent or bird intrusion.
Clean your drier vent, to increase efficiency and prevent fires!