With the high heat and humidity of summer still wrapped around the country it’s almost impossible to imagine winter’s child freezing out your home. But those colder days are right around the corner, and will be here before you know it. These days your home maintenance focus is all about energy efficiency, proper air conditioning and how to keep cool despite the humid conditions. Once fall rolls around you’ll have a whole new group of concerns, which you’ll certainly need to solve before the leaves drop from the trees and the temperatures fall below freezing. Here are five of the essential fall home maintenance tips.
A good first step is to have your heating system tuned up. This is a really inexpensive job, and well worth having a professional HVAC technician come around to handle. The tech will check out your heat pump, the hot water heater and the furnace to make sure everything is in good shape before you find yourself relying on their ability to keep your family comfortable. He’ll also give it a good cleaning, and make sure it’s working up to the company’s specified efficiency ratings. It’s always better to handle this now, before people all over the area start calling for appointments at the exact same time.
This next tip is fairly simple, but will make a big difference. Check out all of your ceiling fans and look for a switch that reverses the motion of the blades. They normally run counter-clockwise, which is great in the summer because it blows a cooling downdraft in your direction. Once you’ve got the heat on you’ll be better served by switching the fans to create an updraft. As hot air rises, the updraft will push that heat down towards you, helping your HVAC system maintain the temperature through the room. If you have high ceilings, this will make a huge difference.
Ice can punish your roof in the winter, so the fall is the perfect time to make sure you won’t face any ice dams. As icicles build up along the edge of the roof, meltwater will be stuck without anywhere to flow. That means it will stay on the roof, potentially backing up into the house and damaging the whole system. Check the insulation in your attic to make sure it keeps the hot air inside, preventing a refreezing process that causes ice dams. Then look over the gutters and make sure there aren’t any obstructions that will only get worse as the gutters fill with falling leaves.
Speaking of the roof, this is a great time to address any cracks or missing shingles. The weather is fairly mild right now, but as fall progresses heavy rainstorms will occur more frequently, and if you haven’t made these repairs already you could well face far more costly issues due to leaks. Also take the time to check all of the flashing seals around your chimneys and vent stacks as well.
Finally, check all of the seals around your doors and windows. Just turn on your HVAC system and grab a candle. If you notice the smoke turning towards your windows and doors, that means there are leaky seals in place. You can fix this issue with a simple application of caulk, and the seals should last without issue through the fall and winter. You’ll lower the cooling load on your system for the rest of the summer, help improve the energy efficiency when you have to use the heat and remain more comfortable in your home during all four seasons.