As summer winds down and we all prepare for cooler temperatures, there are a few simple home maintenance tasks you should tackle to avoid costly surprises come spring. If you’re a first-time homeowner and you’re overwhelmed, it’s ok. Most of these tasks can be done quickly and cheaply or be hired out for a reasonable cost.
Clean Gutters & Downspouts
You’ll want to regularly check your gutters for debris and leaves. If trees are hanging over your gutters, have them trimmed back. Consider installing gutter guards to prevent leaves from clogging your gutters.
Drain Exterior Water Pipes
Leaving hoses attached with water in them can lead to water freezing, expanding and eventually bursting your pipes. This is a costly mistake. Make sure to turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior water faucets.
You’ll also want to start thinking about blowing out your sprinklers once freezing temperatures get near. This can usually be hired out for less than $100.
Caulk Windows, Doors & Gaps
Small gaps can add to your heating bill and allow moisture to get into your home. Pick up a couple tubes of caulk from Home Depot or Lowe’s for around $5 a piece and seal up the cracks around windows, doors, siding and trim. Be sure to also check areas where pipes and wires enter your home.
Have Your Roof Inspected
As the years go by your roof is subject to wear and tear. If you haven’t been up there lately, it might be worth the cost to catch potential loose or cracking shingles that could lead to leaks. Heavy snow will find a way in if you have gaps around skylights, chimneys, flashing, etc.
Check Drainage Around Foundation
Take a walk around the exterior of your home to make sure downspouts and extensions are directing water at least 6 feet from your home’s foundation. Over time this is one of the biggest culprits of foundation issues.
Get a Furnace Tune Up
Consider paying $100 for an HVAC pro to clean, service and tune up your furnace or heating element. This is recommended annually to ensure your furnace is operating at max efficiency.
At a minimum, make sure to swap out your furnace filter if you haven’t done this in a couple months.
Have Your Fireplace Inspected
Fireplaces can become a safety hazard if not properly maintained. Check your firebox for cracks and creosote buildup. If you see cracks or excessive buildup, you should have a professional chimney sweep and repair done. This will cost a couple hundred dollars, but eliminate potential fire hazards and carbon monoxide poisoning.