Wow, where did the summer go? It only seems like five minutes ago that we were all opening up pools, setting up the patio furniture and dusting off the grill. Now summer is almost over, the kids are heading back to school and it’ll only be a few weeks before pumpkin spice returns to your favourite coffee shop and the NHL is back on TV.
The end of summer calls for a celebration – one more chance to fire that grill up in earnest perhaps – but it also calls for a little extra home maintenance, in order to help ensure that your home is ready for the rigors of the colder months that lie ahead. With all of this in mind, here are some of the most important items to add to – and then check off – an end of summer home maintenance checklist.
Dust, Dust Dust and Dust Some More
It’s time to get out the vacuum (and maybe the feather duster) out and make sure that the basic airflow system in your home is nice and clean before you turn the heat back on and close all of the windows. Make sure that your vents, extractor fans, baseboard heaters, floor registers and/or furnace ducts are all clean and dust free. Not only will this help maintain better air quality all winter long but it will help reduce the risk of fire as well.
Get Ready to Crank Up the Heat
Now is the time to call to get your heating system serviced but in the meantime you can stock up on new furnace filters and then plan to change them at least once every six weeks throughout the winter months. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace it’s time to get that checked and cleaned as well. A build up of creosote is not only a fire hazard but it can lead to toxic fumes as well, once the fire is lit, and so this is a task that should never be skipped.
De-gunk Those Gutters
Another crucial autumn maintenance task is ensuring that your gutters are in the best possible shape as damaged, clogged and inefficiently placed guttering is one of the biggest causes of the water damage we see every year once the colder weather takes hold.
In addition to cleaning your gutters – or having someone clean them for you – make sure that you replace any damaged sections and ensure that nothing is sagging and that gutter hangers and downspout brackets are screwed in nice and tight.
Finally ensure that all of the downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house to prevent water and/or ice related foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions; they are only $10 to $20 each and it’s a very small price to pay to prevent what can be very serious water damage.
Check Out the Roof
Your roof really should be checked, but to stay safe grab a pair of good binoculars and inspect it from the ground first.
What are you on the lookout for? Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing, loose, damaged, or missing shingles any and all of which should be addressed as soon as possible, preferably by the professionals.
Seeing stains as well? Often black stains are harmless – but admittedly very ugly – but masses of moss can be more of a problem as they often also harbour mould which will happily eat away at your roof all winter long, especially if heat is escaping from a poorly insulated attic. Again, if you are concerned, call in the pros to investigate before the snow starts to fall.