As we watch the sun fade and temperatures gradually drop, we turn our attention to the fall and winter months ahead. Yes, we still have plenty of sunny days and outdoor activities, but cold temps and wintery mixes will certainly be on the horizon. As a result, now is the time to prepare our homes for these cooler seasons. To help, we the following fall home maintenance checklist highlights the essentials chores to complete before the season changes.
In addition to the following fall home maintenance checklist, our team is proud to offer homeowners throughout the Capital District with a comprehensive home maintenance program. Our plan includes precision tune-ups, cleaning, lubrication and inspection. As a result, you’ll experience lower utility bills, improved reliability, longer equipment life, discounts on repair or replacement work, along with priority same day service and improving the safety of your home. To learn more, contact A.Johnson today!
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Many homeowners take a hands-on approach to home maintenance. This is fantastic because the more you know about your home, the faster you will recognize potential issues. Plus, understanding how to make a quick fix or identify a pending problem, helps prevent small issues from developing into huge repairs. For others, they prefer professional assistance. However, for all homeowners, the fall home maintenance checklist items provide an overview of the main portions of your home that require a review before winter strikes!
Before fall and winter hit, contact your local heating company and complete your annual furnace inspection. If you don’t work with a consistent heating company, then remember to replace your furnace filters, which helps ensure it works throughout the winter. Additionally, replacing furnace filters is a relatively inexpensive and easy task. So, make sure your furnace runs on clean filters to better distribute heat throughout the home, which also helps reduce your energy costs.
Clean & Clear Vents
Proper air flow helps keep your home warm in the winter (and cool in the summer). Therefore, clean the registers, ducts and vents in your home. Cleaning these components keeps them free of debris, which keeps your HVAC system from functioning normally.
Clean the Gutters & Chimney
During the fall, take steps to prevent ice dams that ruin your roof during the winter. As part of your fall home maintenance, help prevent that buildup that typically leads to ice damming by cleaning leaves and debris from your gutters this fall. Additionally, if you and your family rely on the chimney as a heating source, schedule a routine chimney and/or fireplace cleaning. Annual cleaning are particularly important to prevent house fires caused by debris.
Check & Replace Batteries in Smoke Detectors & Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Winter weather keeps people inside. And, in the Capital District, winter storms potentially keep residents inside for significant periods of time. Plus, to help keep warm, many homeowners rely on secondary home heating appliances (like space heaters), which elevate the risks of fire and carbon monoxide. As a result, simply test your detectors and replace the batteries (as needed).
Reverse the Ceiling Fans
We all learned in school that warm air rises. As a result, simply reverse your ceiling fans as we head into the fall and winter. During the summer, fans push hot air up. Simply reverse the ceiling fans and they help push hot air down (into your living area) during the winter.
Install (or Update) a Programmable Thermostat
If you don’t already have a programmable thermostat, then consider installing a programmable thermostat during the fall. Programmable thermostats include pre-programmed settings, which help regulate temperatures, which help maintain temperatures and reduce energy costs. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, then review the the pre-programmed settings and confirm the times when temperatures should rise and fall.
Review the Plumbing System
Interestingly, each season impacts your home plumbing differently. Therefore, as part of your fall home maintenance checklist, check your plumbing! To start, clean the drains in your home with baking soda and vinegar (here’s how) or for stubborn clogs, consider hiring a professional to conduct a drain cleaning. Secondly, check your pipe insulation to help prevent frozen and burst pipes during the winter. In particular, insulate any pipes located on exterior walls of the home. Finally, improve the efficiency of your water heater by draining sediment and build up before the cold weather sets in.
Check for Drafts (& Seal Drafty Areas)
Take a few minutes to walk around your home and stand by the doors and windows. Feel for any air flow because now is the time to caulk, seal, and weatherstrip around windows and doors. This common fall maintenance activity helps prevent drafts from letting cold air inside during the winter. For older homes, consider working with an HVAC professional to inspect your ventilation and duct system for leaks.
The No. 1 reason that homeowners call A.Johnson is for comfort-related issues. The second reason is high utility bills. Often, both problems are caused by air leaks in the home – a problem that can be remedied with air sealing.
“Air sealing your home means identifying points of air leakage into or out of the structure, and then sealing those areas through techniques like caulking or weatherstripping. The exterior of your home – often referred to as the “envelope”or “shell” – is susceptible to both air infiltration (air leaking in from the outside) and air ex-filtration (air leaking out from the inside) through entry points like windows, doors, wood framing, along baseboards, switches mounted on exterior walls, chimneys, fireplaces, attics, and more.”
Check the Insulation
After checking for drafts, then check the insulation in your home, in particular, in the attic. For example, if you notice any exposed joists, add more insulation. In particular, the colder the climate, the more you should add to your attic. Additionally, insulation works best based on the R value associated with its thickness.
“At the heart of installation lies R factor insulation. Experienced HVAC techs and insulation installers start with the r-value, which measures a material’s resistance to conductive heat flow. R-Value measures (or rates) the thermal resistance of insulation, which means the higher the R-value, the greater the insulating effectiveness. The R-value depends on the type of insulation, its thickness, and its density. The R-value of some insulations also depends on temperature, aging, and moisture accumulation. When calculating the R-value of a multilayered installation, add the R-values of the individual layers.”
Conduct a Home Energy Audit
For new homeowners, consider conducting a home energy audit. Or, if many of the fall home maintenance checklist items seem overwhelming, an energy audit helps identify the areas in your home that require air sealing and insulation. In addition, a high quality audit evaluates energy features like:
- your home heating and cooling systems.
- doors and skylights.
- ventilation systems.
Finally, audits help identify solutions that ultimately improve your home’s energy efficiency and lowers your utility bills. An audit also pinpoints and prioritizes the home maintenance items that provide the biggest impact (especially before winter strikes!).
A.Johnson Heating, Cooling and Plumbing offers Capital District families with reliable fall HVAC maintenance services. Additionally, our team provides expert furnace installation, repair and annual tune-ups that help increase the longevity and efficiency of your HVAC system. For more information on how our team can help improve your home heating needs, call today!