Our handy checklist for every home owner
As the temperture and leaves begin to fall, now is the time to prep your home for the chilly days and nights ahead. We've complied a list of the top fall maintenance items you may want to tackle over the next few weeks before Old Man Winter comes knocking on your door.
- Clean the combustion air or makeup air intake vents.
- If you have an air exchange system, such as a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) or energy recovery ventilator (ERV), clean it. Regular maintenance items for an HRV include cleaning the exterior intake, the filters, and the core.
- Clean the clothes dyer duct. The damper at the exterior should move freely and close properly.
- Check the bathroom and kitchen exhaust dampers for wasp nests. Nests in those terminals will prevent the dampers from opening.
- Clean the soffit vents. These can get clogged up with lint, dust, insulation, and paint. They are located under that roof overhangs.
- Check the roof for birds nests. These can typically be seen from the ground.
- Clean the gutters after all the leaves have fallen.
- If your downspouts or sump pumps dain into an underground system, re-direct them to drain to the ground surface when possible.
- Outdoor covers are NOT necessary. If a cover is used, it should be the type that only covers the top, not a full enclosure.
- If the furnance of water heater vent blows exhaust gas onto the air conidtioner, a plastic cover an be used to shield the air conidtioner from the corrosive exhaust gasses.
- Don't cover heat pumps.
- Seal any gaps around your home's 'envelope': check for loose or dried-out caulking around pipes, ducts, faucets, air conditioner refrigerant lines, etc.
- Replace any damaged or worn weather-stripping around windows and doors.
SMOKE & CARBON MONOXIDE ALARMS
- Smoke alarms should be located inside every bedroom, plus one in a common area on every level.
- If you don't have a photoelectric smoke alarms in your home, add them. (If you don't know what type you have, you probably don't have photoelectric ones.)
- CO alarms should be located within 10 feet of every sleeping room, but NOT in your furnance room, kitchen, or garage.
- Replace the batteries in your alarms and test them using the built-in text buttons.
- Check the age of your smoke and CO alarms: smoke alarms are good for up to 10 years while CO alarms are good for 5-10 years. If they're any older, replace them.
- Have a professional furnace or boiler tune-up performed annually.
- Replace the batteries in your thermostat. (Otherwise, if your thermostat fails while you're out of town, you might come home to a winter wonderland!)
- Clean or replace the furance filter. This should usually be done every 1-3 months depending on the tpe of filter. The arrow on the filter should point toward the furnance.
- Have the flues professionally cleaned on all wood burning fireplaces if they get used regularly - every 30-50 fires is a good rule of thumb.
- Clean the dust out of the bottom of any gas fireplace inserts.
- If you have a gas log installed in a wood burning fireplace with an adjustable damper, make sure there is a damper stop installed to prevent the damper from closing all the way.
- Disconnect any garden hoses. If they are left attached, even to a frost-free faucet, you have the potential for a burst pipe.
- If the exterior faucets are not frost-free, drain the water out.
- Remove any pond pumps and store the pump in your basement in a five gallon bucket filled with water. This will help to prevent the seals from drying out.
- If you have a utility sink in your garage, drai the water of the pipes and dump some RV anti-freeze into the drain.
- If you have a lawn sprinkler system, it needs to drained and blown out with compressed air. Hire a pro to do this.