During the warm days of late Summer, it's easy to forget that a dramatic change in weather will arrive in about a month's time. Just as Starbucks reminds us it's never too early for Pumpkin Spice lattes, it's not too early to tackle household chores to prepare for cold weather.
Here's a short list of important tasks to complete during the month of September:
1. Check Walkways For Cracks
While it's still warm outside, check walkways for cracks and loose paver material. Remember, many patching materials are best applied in warm weather. Pay special attention to walkway and entryway areas that can become slippery when wet or frozen.
2. Clean and Repair Siding
Siding can show the effects of dirt and mildew after a long, humid Summer. September is the perfect time to clean siding with a pressure washer - later, when temperatures dip below the 60s or 70s, pressure washing becomes a wet and chilly job. Make sure you check for rotten or warped areas, and make sure your caulking is still sealed before you begin spraying. Chances are, you won't need a high-pressure, gasoline-powered machine for this job. For wood, vinyl and concrete board, an electric pressure washer should suffice.
3. Check and Repair Leaky Outdoor Faucets
Even the modern, anti-siphon, frost-free outdoor faucets can fail on occasion, so check for leaks. If you have an old-fashioned brass hose bib, consider upgrading to an anti-siphon, frost-free model. If you're not ready to upgrade, then make sure you install an insulated hard faucet cover to minimize the chance of freezing.
4. Make Sure Windows Are Sealed Tight
Double- or triple-pane windows should have a tight seal around their edges to hold the inert gas between them. Without that seal, your windows' insulation value will drop dramatically. If you inspect your windows, and notice that the glass is foggy, it's likely a sign of a failed seal. A pro can often reseal a window pane without having to replace the window.
5. Sweep the chimney
It's tempting to think that you probably didn't use your chimney much last Winter, cross your fingers, and hope that your flue is clean enough to handle another season. Built-up soot and creosote in your chimney increases the risk of a chimney fire (which would involve a costly repair). And, a clogged chimney can increase toxic carbon monoxide levels in your home. To be safe, clean the flue every year. HTI Home Inspections can inspect your flue to ensure it's clean enough to use.
6. Replace Air Filters and Check the Furnace
Really, this is a chore you should perform monthly. Dirty filters lead to higher energy bills and put a strain on your HVAC system that could damage it.
7. Service the Yard Equipment
If you want to make sure your lawn equipment starts up next spring, winterize it properly before stowing it away. For most equipment, run the engine until it's out of gas to empty the fuel lines. Then empty the oil from the crankcase. Double check your instruction manual to see what the manufacturer recommends. This is also a good time to replace air and gas filters, lubricate moving parts, and sharpen or replace blades.
With the exception of the yard equipment, HTI Home Inspections can check these home systems to make sure your home is ready for the upcoming Winter. Call HTI today at 301-461-5731 to schedule your inspection.