Fall & Winter Home Maintenance

 

Among many of the great things North Idaho provides, the cold & snowy months are some of the prettiest! But it can also be the hardest on our homes.

Some maintenance this fall/winter can help avoid some costly damage to one of the biggest investments you’ll make... your home. For those of you who are first time home buyers or maybe you just need a reminder, here is a list of maintenance you can perform this year to be sure your home is ready.

 

Image result for cleaning out gutters

 

 

 

 

 

           

                    Gutters & Downspouts

 

 

 

 

What to do

Why
Clean gutters and downspouts throughout fall A build up of leaves and other debris could lead to wood rot, pest issues, and ruined gutters
Double check water isn’t coming behind the gutters and they are all secured Loose, damaged or compromised gutters could cause them to be forcibly removed from the side of your house as a result causing costly damage
Be sure the water drains correctly and no pooling occurs Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways

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Image result for window in winter

 

       

 

 

                       Windows & Doors

 

 

 

What to do Why
Change summer screens to cool weather storm windows & doors Removing screens stops snow from getting trapped between   the window and screen, as a result avoids damage to the sill and frame. Additionally, it lets in more light. Installing storm windows & doors helps keep your home insulated through the cold months
Repair or replace loose or damaged window or door   frames Keeps your home better insulated
Insert weather stripping or caulking around windows & doors Prevents drafts and lowers heating bills

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Image result for changing filter in heating system

 

 

 

                    

                       Heating Systems

 

 

 

 

What to do Why
Replace the filter in your furnace Helps the lifespan of your heater, reduces energy bills as well as improves air quality
Have a heating professional check your heating system Ensures your heating system’s performance is optimal. They may discover minor problems before they become major and costly
Clean your ducts Better your heaters efficiency and reduces dust

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Image result for insulated pipes

 

 

                                

                           

                               Plumbing

 

 

 

What to do Why
Be sure pipes are well insulated Prevents freezing and bursting pipes
Know how to find and turn off the water shut off valve In case pipes do freeze you can shut your water off and avoid a larger mess
Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses indoors
Protect your pipes from the damages of freezing temperatures
Flush and insulate your hot water tank Flushing removes sediment which in turn could extend the life of your tank. Insulating can help conserve energy, therefore saving you money

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Image result for professional inspecting chimney

 

 

 

         

                   Chimney & Fireplace

 

 

 

What to do Why
Have a professional inspect & clean your chimney Prevents dangerous chimney fires
Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when it’s closed Avoids snow or water getting into your chimney

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Image result for attic vents

 

 

                          

                           

                          Ventilation

 

 

 

What to do Why
Be sure insulation in the attic doesn’t cover vents in the eaves Prevents winter ice dams on the roof and mold in the attic
Check that ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and other debris Prevents winter ice dams on the roof and mold in the attic
Check bird and rodent screens for attic vents Prevents unwanted guests
Clean dryer vents of lint The cool and dry fall weather can increase static electricity and as a result can consequently ignite lint that is built up. The buildup can also make your dryer work less efficiently

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Image result for pruning trees and shrubs in fall

     

            

               

            Landscape and Outside Work

 

 

 

 

 

What to do Why
Fertilize and reseed your lawn The grass roots are growing deeper into the ground in the fall therefore it’s the best time to do this
Prune your trees and shrubs Encourages healthy growth
Trim limps that are close to power lines or the roof of your home Avoids heavy snow/ice building up causing damage 
Cover patio furniture with heavy tarps or store inside a shed, garage or basement Protects them from the elements which could cause rust
Check your walkways, stairs, and driveway for winter safety Will help navigating to be safer when snow is on the ground and make shoveling easier
Stock up on winter supplies such as shovels, ice scrapers, ice melt etc. That way you have all the supplies you need when the winter weather comes as well as avoids the people who did not stock up

 

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Image result for air conditioners in the winter

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      

                         Air Conditioners

 

 

 

 

What to do Why
Place a sheet of plywood held down by a few bricks on top and your AC, not a waterproof cover Plywood can stop falling icicles and other debris which would cause damage to the unit. Waterproof cover creates a warm environment therefore invites unwanted guests to stay for the winter.
Remove window AC units Heat could escape through the accordion extension panels on the AC and the chassis as a result would let in cold air

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~Image result for where is the expiration date on a fire extinguisher

 

 

 

 

                          

                         Safety Devices

 

 

 

 

 

What to do Why
Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace batteries if needed Make sure the devices are working. It’s a good idea to do this regularly, no matter the time of year
Check expiration date on fire extinguisher and replace if past the date Expiration dates are needed because over time the pressurized gas used to propel chemicals to put out a fire escapes. Once past the expiration date it may no longer work effectively
Test your home for radon As weather gets colder we keep our window shut. As a result, radon is more likely to be trapped in your home so fall/winter is a good time to test.

 

 

 

Printable Home Maintenance Checklist