Fall is an excellent time to take on home maintenance projects to prepare for the arrival of the New England winter.
Check these seven items off your to-do list, and you can rest easy knowing that you have prepared your home and yard for the winter season.
1. Window Air Conditioners
Ideally, you should remove the window a/c units that have kept you cool during the summer and put them in storage for use next year. However, if your window a/c units are installed year-round, fit an insulated cover to the exterior of the a/c unit to prevent draughts, keeping cold air out in the cold winter months.
2. Care for trees
Falling trees and limbs can be hazardous to life, especially when covered with snow or freezing rain. Contact an arborist to inspect your trees and prune as needed.
3. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Once all the leaves and pine needles have fallen, it is essential to clear all gutters and downspouts. If you are uncomfortable working up high, then hire a service to do it for you. Failure to do this can result in:
- Roof damage
When leaves and pine needles remain in the gutter, water can back-up under
the shingles on the roof, rotting the roof deck and possibly leaking into the house.
- span class=”boldbl”>Pests infestation
A full gutter has all the materials that squirrels and birds need to nest.
- Fascia board damage
When the gutters and downspouts are full, water can overflow rotting the fascia boards.
- Foundation damage
Besides fascia damage, overflowing water can cause cracks in the foundation, which can be very expensive to repair.
4. Shut Off Exterior Faucets and Store Hoses
In New England, where the temperatures consistently fall below the freezing point, it is essential that all exterior faucets (including outside showers) are winterized and that all hoses are disconnected and stored.
It is a good idea to replace all conventional outside faucets with frost-free faucets.
5. Check Safety Devices.
- Test all smoke/carbon monoxide detectors (replacing batteries as needed).
- Check the expiration date on all fire extinguishers replacing as necessary.
6. Chimney Cleaning and Heating System Maintenance.
Poorly maintained chimneys and furnaces could be hazardous to the occupants of a home. Clean chimneys and vents before the arrival of winter, and service furnaces/boilers before turning the heat on.
7. Stock up on winter supplies.
- Do you have snow shovels? Are they operable? If not, stock up.
- Stock up on ice-melt (pet safe and plant safe preferably)
- Put ice scrapers in the car and update your winter emergency kit
- Check your home’s winter emergency kit and stock up as needed
- If you use a snow blower, have it serviced & complete a test-run
- Stock up on fuel for your generators and snow blowers
Follow this 7-point checklist to keep your home and family safe.