Examine Roof Shingles Examine roof shingles to see if any were lost or damaged during winter. If your home has an older roof covering, you may want to start a budget for replacement. The summer sun can really damage roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys need to be checked and repaired by a qualified roofer.
Check the Gutters
Check for loose or leaky gutters. Improper drainage can lead to water in the basement or crawl space. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear and free of debris.
Inspect the Concrete
Inspect concrete slabs for signs of cracks or movement. All exterior slabs except pool decks should drain away from the home’s foundation. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. When weather permits, power-wash and then seal the concrete.
Service the AC Unit
Have a qualified heating and cooling contractor clean and service the outside unit of the air conditioning system. Clean coils operate more efficiently, and an annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels. Change interior filters on a regular basis.
Clothes Dryer Vent Pipe
The accumulation of lint in the vent pipe and hose on clothes dryers causes 15,000 fires annually! To prevent a dryer vent fire in your home, it’s important to clean the dryer vent regularly. Start by removing the dryer hose and/or outside vent pipe cover, then clean the inside of the hose and pipe thoroughly with a special brush or vacuum cleaner. Also, make sure to clean the lint filter on your dryer every time you dry a load of clothes.
Bathroom Vent Fans
Bathroom ceiling vent fans can collect quite a bit of dust, which can makes them noisy and inefficient. To clean and maintain a bathroom vent fan remove the cover, vacuum out any dust, and spray any moving parts with silicone lubricant to get your fan quietly humming once again.
Mold and Mildew
Summer heat and humidity can cause mold and mildew to grow on the outside of your home. To remove it, scrub with a diluted bleach solution or trisodium phosphate. Be sure to protect plants and shrubs before cleaning, and prune them away from the house to help prevent future mold growth.
Range Hood and Filter
Allowing grease to buildup on range hoods and over the stove microwave fans can reduce their efficiency and shorten the life of the fan. In addition to cleaning the outer and inner surfaces of a range hood or microwave with a citrus-based cleaner, it’s important to remove and clean the range hood grease filter regularly by washing it in the sink in hot, soapy water or running the filter in the dishwasher. If you can access the exhaust fan on the range hood, turn the circuit breaker off and clean the fan blades as well.
Clean the Gutters
After leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
Ready the Furnace & Fireplace
Have your heating systems checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order.
Prepare Deck for Winter
Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.
Cover Air Conditioners
Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover, to prevent rusting of vital parts.
Shovel snow away from your home’s foundation
The key to avoiding foundation deterioration and expensive repairs is to prevent water from pooling around the base of your house. If maintaining a snow-free moat isn’t possible, consider focusing your efforts on areas more prone to water damage, such as basement windows and concrete steps.
Regularly check for ice dams and icicles
De-icing cables that sit at the front of the roof work well. Don’t let icicles grow, as much as the kids may want you to. They’re not only a danger to people standing beneath them, but they’re incredibly heavy and can cause damage to your home. They also can cause water damage to your foundation when they melt.
Winterize yard furniture and equipment
Wipe down the furniture and, if possible, stack and store it in either a shed or garage. If items must stay outside, cover them with tarps. Your garden equipment should also be stored away from the elements, but before you do that, make sure to drain any oil, which will get sludgy over the winter. Store the liquid in a leak-proof container and take it to your local hazardous-waste facility.
Stop cold air from getting in
Feel a cold breeze? Take action in early winter as soon as you notice a problem. Boost your home’s energy efficiency and stop cold air in its tracks. Check and repair caulking around doors and windows and anywhere something penetrates a wall, like outside faucets and air vents. Check weather-stripping on doors and windows. Seal cracks in foundation walls.
Tips For Every Season
Test garage door auto-reverse feature
Test every month by placing a 2×4 on the ground where the door would close. It should reverse after a second or so when the door hits the wood. Also test the photo-electric sensors if you have them by placing something in front of them (not your body). If the door doesn’t immediately go back up, you have a problem.
Test smoke/carbon dioxide detectors
Another simple task; your detectors should have a “test” button. If the alarm sounds, you’re good to go. If not, replace batteries immediately and test again. If it still doesn’t sound, it’s possible there’s simply corrosion on the battery terminal, and it won’t detect new batteries. Clean it and try again. If it still doesn’t work, you’ll likely need a new detector.
Change your furnace & A/C Filter
Inspect, and possibly change out HVAC filters. Many experts will say to change the filters monthly, but that’s not always necessary. For smaller families without pets or allergies, you’ll likely be okay changing the filters every 2-3 months. If the filter is dirty, change it out, otherwise inspect it again next month. I’ve also been told by handymen to go with cheaper filters and replace them more often versus going with the expensive filters.
Run water and flush toilets in unused spaces
This mostly applies to guest bathrooms, or any other sinks/water sources you don’t use on a regular basis. The idea is to prevent grime or any other kind of build-up. Regularly running a little bit of water through will prevent this.