Now that we’ve moved into September, full-blown fall is just around the corner, with the flurries of winter lurking just beyond the foliage, hopefully without another Snowtember event. With that in mind, now is the time to make sure that your home is prepared for the colder months ahead. Here are five areas to check and confirm this autumn to help make maintaining your home stress-free during the winter season.
Clean the Vents
How long has it been since you cleaned your home’s vents? Your dryer vents, furnace intake vents, range hood and bathroom ducts are all prone to collecting dust, grease, dirt and grime over the months and years. Before sealing up your home this fall, make sure that all of these are cleared of any blockages that could make your home more prone to fires or stale air. Plus, it’s important to note that with the bathroom ducts, moist air from your showers can allow mildew and mold growth – a health hazard – so checking that these airways are all clear is vital to keeping your home and the air inside safe all winter long.
Speaking of air flow, you want to make sure that the warm air that you’re paying top dollar to heat is staying in your home. This is the time to get up to your attic and check your insulation to make sure that your home is ready to keep you toasty during the blustery season. It is ideal if your insulation is at least 12 inches thick throughout the attic to provide adequate heat retention. A quick at-a-glance way to assess your situation is to look through your attic at the floor joists. If they are easily visible, you may need to add some additional insulation to keep you warm this winter.
Clear the Gutters
Another fall to-do should be to clear out your gutters before the snow falls. Gutters tend to clog up easily with falling leaves during the fall months, and these blockages can prevent the proper drainage of rain and snow melt from the roof. In winter, warm air can melt the bottom layer of snow, and lead to ice forming. Without a way to drain from the roof, this can easily create ice dams that can lead to damage to your roof or gutters, notes Bob Vila’s website. Keep the gutters clear to help keep winter from wreaking havoc on your home.
Make Sure Your Heating Is Ready
This is a big one – checking the heating systems. Every home is different, so the preparation and inspections that are needed will vary from home to home. If you have forced air heat, check your furnace and verify that ducts are sealed and that the filter has been cleaned or replaced. Owners of homes with hot water systems should make sure that radiators are all open and ready for winter. Radiators should also be flushed to rid any air that has worked in that can reduce efficiency and cause the knocking noises that rattle throughout your pipes. If you use a fireplace or wood stove, make sure to clean out the ash and soot from your firebox, and take a look at your chimney, as well. Soot and creosote can build up in chimneys through a season or several years of regular use, and these accumulated residues are highly flammable. Clean your chimney to help prevent fires from starting in the chimney, and ensure that your ventilation is working as efficiently as possible.
Change the Batteries
Lastly, related to fire prevention, you should be checking your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and replacing the batteries. You never want to have to hear the loud beeping of either of these devices, but you want to make sure they’re working just in case you ever have an issue. Batteries in each of these devices should generally be replaced every six months according to most recommendations, and getting into a routine of replacement is a habit that could potentially save your life. Swap in new batteries and sleep more soundly beneath the extra covers this winter.
Accurate Home Inspections can help you with your fall preparation. We offer full interior and exterior inspection services, including checks of your roof, insulation levels, ductwork, chimneys and much more. For the most thorough assessment of your home, turn to our professionals. Request an inspection online now, or contact us today at 403-826-6111 to schedule your appointment.