It seems fall has finally reached the Tri Cities. Whether it stays cool or warms up momentarily, now is the ideal time to prepare your home for the winter. Over the next few weeks we will be covering some of the fall maintenance to do’s to keep your home safe and running well during the coming winter months.
1. Inspect Roof- Before the cold months really settle in and possibly put snow on your roof to melt, you should check the roof of your home for leaks. Start by cleaning any leaves and debris off the roof. Make sure you really get the chimney and valleys clean then check for any missing, bent, broken or loose shingles and either replace or fix as needed. If you have a chimney, check the flashing around it as well as the chimney bricks and mortar. You can repair any gaps or cracks found with masonry caulking. If you find damage to your flashing, you can use urethane caulk for a temporary fix while you wait for your contractor to fix it correctly. Also if you do not already have a screen over your chimney to prevent leaves, birds and animals, or other debris from getting in, you should put one on.
2. Trim the trees- While you are on the roof be sure to take note of any tree branches that are close to the roof. You should have at least 10 feet of clearance around your chimney flue to prevent fires. Also trim any branches that are close to the roof of your home as they could break off and cause damage to your roof, chimney or gutters.
3. Gutters- Again, take advantage of the fact that you are already on the roof and inspect and clean your gutters. If the gutters were to get clogged the overflow of water could damage everything from your roof to the foundation of your home. A quick and easy way to clean out the gutters is to make a gutter scoop. Cut the bottom and side out of an old plastic jug that is the same width as your gutter and use this to scoop the debris. Use your hose to rinse out the gutter and flush the downspouts to make sure there are no clogs.
4. Firewood- If your home has a wood burning stove, now is the time to start stocking up on the firewood. If you plan on purchasing the wood, look for hardwood that has been cut and dried for a year or more, this will help reduce the amount of creosote build-up in your chimney. Find logs that are cut to the length that will fit easily in your fireplace. When splitting and stacking the wood, be sure to keep it away from the exterior of your home to prevent fires and also to keep those pesky rodents or snakes that may find a home in the pile, away from your home.
5. Garage Door- To keep your garage door running smoothly and quietly, you should clean, inspect, and lubricate it. Start by cleaning the door itself making sure to wipe any debris from the tracks as well. Use a bit of engine oil to lubricate the hinges, bearings and springs. Use oil on the runners ONLY if you have metal rollers because if you have nylon rollers the oil will cause your door to slip. Open and close the door a few times to distribute the lubricant and you should be all set.
6. Lawn Equipment- Any gas powered lawn equipment you have should be winterized before you put them away. Run the mower or whatever out of gas then add a fuel stabilizer to the tank. Next, unplug the spark plug wire to prevent any accidents while you work on the item. Drain the oil and clean the piece of equipment. If need be clean or replace the air filter and spark plug. Reattach the spark plug wire and store.
7. Storm Windows- If your home has storm window it is time to put them up. Take down any removable screens, clean and store them and put the storm windows up in their place.
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