Chris' Corner: New Tecumseth Fall Household Maintenance

New Tecumseth Fall Household Maintenance

Winter is well on its way.  If we haven't yet tackled these household maintenance chores, consider doing so soon.  Steve Gladstone, of Stonehollow Home Inspections in Stamford, CT, advises the following tasks as part of your fall/winter home maintenance:

Key maintenance tasks to perform

Clean your gutters. Leaving debris in your gutters is an invitation for trouble. Not only can it freeze and damage the gutters themselves, but it also can force freezing water up under your shingles and damage the roof. Gladstone says that many homes in the Northeast now have covered gutter systems, which fools many homeowners into thinking gutter cleaning is unnecessary. “Gutter covers keep leaves out,” he says, “but not fine organic material or grit from the roof.” It’s important to remove the covers and clean just as you would regular gutters.

Clean and put away lawn and garden equipment. Do a visual inspection of the yard to identify anything lying around — garden tools, hoses and nozzles, patio furniture and accessories — that might be damaged by snow and ice and should be brought in for the winter.

Run your lawn mower until the gas tank is empty; if you leave gas in the tank over the winter, it can degrade and lose some of its combustion ability. Worse, gas can react with the air in the tank and oxidize, forming deposits that affect the machine’s performance; worse still, moisture can condense inside the tank and cause rust that blocks the fuel lines.

If you know you’re going to leave gas in the tank over the winter, add a stabilizer to the last gallon you put in (mix it in the gas can, not the mower tank, so that you get the mixing ratio correct).

Disconnect hoses and winterize lawn irrigation systems. Leaving water in any exterior hoses or pipes can cause them to freeze and burst. If your exterior faucets aren’t self-draining, be sure to turn off the water manually at the shutoff valve inside the house so water doesn’t stand in the wall pipes.

If you have a lawn irrigation system, it’s important to make sure all the water has drained from the system before the first freeze. Depending on the type of system you’ve installed, this may require the assistance of a professional. A pro charges $50 to $150 to winterize an irrigation system.

Schedule a furnace tune-up. Follow your HVAC professional as he works and ask questions about what he’s doing, says Gladstone. The technician should be working his way through a checklist of items such as inspecting filters, checking the chimney exhaust, and examining the blower and fuel connections. Expect to pay $50 to $100 for a furnace tune-up.

Replace wicks and air filters in your humidifier. If you use a portable humidifier in winter to mitigate the drying effects of heating, start the season with fresh wicks—the small filters that absorb moisture from the reservoir; a fan directed at the wick dispenses the moisture into the air. Also check air filters, if your unit contains them (consult your owner’s manual). Replace wicks again in two to three months for a cost of about $15. It’s an absolute must to clean the humidifier every few weeks during winter to keep it free of mold, bacteria, and mineral deposits. Follow your manufacturer’s instructions.

However, Gladstone points out that “most homes are too wet.” Humidifiers may contribute to excess moisture that encourages the growth of mold and mildew. Use a humidifier only if necessary, and choose a single-room model so that you can check easily to see if the unit needs cleaning.

Protect your air conditioning unit. If your outdoor air conditioning unit is located under trees or under the drip line of the house where icicles and snow may fall, give it a little protection by placing a sheet of plywood over the top and draping a dropcloth over it. However, don’t create a fully enclosed space, as that can trap moisture and offer winter protection for rodents.

Close your storm windows. It’s a simple step, but an easy one to forget. Make sure the windows are shut properly so that the outer pane is up and the inner pane is down; this keeps rain and other forms of precipitation out.

Insulate pull-down staircases for attics. The openings that accommodate pull-down staircases can cause significant heat loss during winter. You can purchase an insulated cover for the opening, or for about $30 you can make a foam box yourself with duct tape, weatherstripping, and a piece of 2-inch-thick polystyrene foam; 2-inch foam has an insulating value of about R-10. “This simple step will pay for itself many times over,” Gladstone says. 

Spending a weekend or two on maintenance can prevent costly repairs and alert you to developing problems.

This information was part of a post originally published on Houselogic.com by Karin Beuerlein on September 25th, 2009

Chris Smith CSSBB
          Sales Representative

Interested in Buying or Selling Real Estate?

  ph: 1.866.936.3500

Re/Max
Chay Realty Inc.,
Brokerage

Comment balloon 8 commentsChris Smith • November 04 2011 11:40AM

Comments

Thanks for this very timely blog post Chris. I had completely forgotten to turn my outside garden hose faucett off. I'm going to have to make a note to do that tonight when I get home. You saved the day, (well maybe not today, but certainly a spring thaw day when I would have discovered the burst pipe). Thanking you in advance.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) about 9 years ago

Preventative maintenance saves dollars and gives peace of mind Chris. Great To-Do List! 

Posted by Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!, So Utah Residential, Referral & Relocation REALTOR (Red Rock Real Estate) about 9 years ago

Hi Chris,

A good bunch of advice for the home owner who wants to keep their home in the best shape possible.

Letting even one of those things go can cause major problems in the future.

Thanks for sharing the tips.

All the best, Clint Mckie

Posted by Clint Mckie, Desert Sun Home, Comm. Inspection 1-575-706-5586 (Desert Sun Home, commercial Inspections) about 9 years ago

Malcolm, I have still not closed our pool completely... I better hurry

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Valerie, there are many homes in New Tec that have the pull down stairs... the shutter are very rare, I will give you that ;-)

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Wanda, I need checklists to keep me honest

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

Thank You Clint, same to you

Posted by Chris Smith, South Simcoe, Caledon, King, Orangeville Real Esta (Re/Max Chay Realty Inc., Brokerage) about 9 years ago

This is a great checklist to share Chris - especially helpful to first time home buyers preparing for winter for the first time.  

Posted by Karen Bernetti about 9 years ago

Participate