With temperatures (and leaves) beginning to fall, it’s time to revisit our Home Maintenance checklist to give you some tips on keeping your home warm and running at optimum efficiency through the New Year.
As the air cools, it also becomes drier which is the root of most Fall home maintenance issues. Dry air can do a number on joints, wood, sheetrock, and soil, not to mention your foundation! Add in the warm air of your heating system and you’ve got the recipe for brittle, cracking materials. You may notice separation in your trim work, or doors that suddenly become tougher to open; this is a direct result of the thermal expansion and contraction going on as the temperature cools. This is completely normal, though, so don’t worry! If the expansion and contraction is significant, you may need to adjust your hardware slightly to ensure that doors are locking properly. You may also find it helpful to have a humidifier in your home during the drier months.
First on your list should be a call to your local HVAC expert to have your system serviced. Don’t forget to change your filters to clear out the allergens from the summer. If you are using a programmable thermostat, this is the time of year to set it on the auto feature so that your system can make adjustments as the temperature rises and falls. That way you’ll never leave the house on a cool morning and come home to find it sweltering if the temperature unexpectedly rises throughout the day. Your system will do that for you! We also recommend another flush of your condensate line with a 50-50 mixture of bleach and water.
Carpet Clean Up
When it comes to cleaning and maintenance, there are a few items you should consider. Now that the kids are back in school, this is a great time to have your carpets deep cleaned. Your granite may also need resealing, before you get into the swing of Fall cooking and entertaining. Your dryer is an often overlooked appliance, but it is important to clean out the vents around this time of year to protect your home from possible fire. With the dry, cool air, fires can start in the blink of an eye, so stay on top of your fire safety precautions.
The Great Outdoors
Equally important to indoor home maintenance is the world just outside your door. While we typically stay slightly warmer here in Texas, it is not uncommon for a few hard freezes or light snow. With this in mind, be sure that you’ve turned off your sprinkler system. Any watering should be done manually to prevent burst irrigation pipes. Reconsider your watering schedule to accommodate the changing weather; you may not need to water quite as much around this time of year. It’s also common practice to cut your grass to an inch or lower during the colder months.
As we mentioned in our Summer maintenance post, you should remain vigilant about monitoring the soil around your foundation year round. You may still need to water that area as the soil begins to dry and contract. Speaking of water, you should also disconnect your hose from the hose bib. In the event of a hard freeze, this will prevent the bib from cracking or breaking. Now is also the time to clear your gutters of leaves and other debris that has fallen from the trees or been carried in by the wind.
When temps dip below freezing, there are a few things you can do to prepare your home and your pipes. Did you know that moving water cannot freeze? If the forecast calls for below freezing temps, be sure to turn the faucets on to allow a small drip. Another tip: open any cabinets along outer walls to allow the warm air from your home to reach the pipes, further preventing them from freezing. We also recommend keeping a bag or two of ice melt on hand for your driveway and sidewalk in the event of a hard freeze.
Make a List
Another great tip to keep you prepared for an unforeseen emergency is to print out a list of your preferred plumber, electrician, HVAC repair, and other home maintenance professionals and hang it in an easy to find spot in the kitchen or planning desk area so you can find it when you need it. If you’re a Highland Homeowner, you can find your specific emergency contact information by clicking on the warranty section of our website!
Our best advice is to be vigilant. Stay on top of weather reports and walk your property once a week to take note of any changes or possible trouble spots. Be proactive and you’ll keep your home safe, warm and protected from the elements for years to come!