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4 Fall Home Maintenance Musts

  • 4 Fall Home Maintenance Musts

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    home maintenance
    When summer wraps up, most of us are glad to put the lawnmower to bed and clean up the gardening tools in preparation for winter. But don't rest on your household chore laurels. Fall is prime time for accomplishing some important home maintenance tasks that'll ensure your house is ready to ride out winter, and you and your family remain cozy throughout. These 4 fall maintenance chores should be at the top of your to-do list.

  • Check and Clean Out the Gutters

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    cleaning gutters

    It's nobody's favorite, but cleaning out gutters is a must-do chore for every homeowner. Ideally, gutter maintenance should happen twice a year, and more often if you live in a heavily wooded area. Clogged gutters can cause ice dams in winter as water caught in them freezes, damaging your roof and forcing water into your house. Loose gutters can allow water to rot the trim and siding of your home, and any decaying debris remaining in them will invite carpenter ants and mosquitoes to breed come springtime. Whether you do it yourself, or hire a pro, make sure your gutters get the attention they need to function properly.

  • Inspect the Roof and Chimney

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    roof inspection 

    While you're attending to your gutters, do an inspection of your roof and chimney. The best way to inspect them is to walk the roof. If it's not safe to walk the roof, use a ladder at several places along the roof line to get closer. Use binoculars if that's still not close enough. Keep your eye out for loose or missing shingles, and any shingles that are curled or deteriorating. Inspect flashing where the roof meets walls, and around the chimney. Remove any tree branches that are touching the roof, as they can damage shingles, prevent the roof from drying properly, and allow outdoor critters like raccoons and squirrels easy access to your home. Check the masonry of your chimney walls. Any damaged bricks or mortar cracks need to be repaired. If you find any of these issues during your inspection, call in a trustworthy roofing contractor for a follow-up.

  • Winterize Windows

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    fall maintenance, sealing windows 

    Sealing up drafty windows will block cold air from entering your home, keeping your heating costs down, and your family more comfortable. The ultimate protection is a two step process: caulking and weatherstripping. But doing one or the other should impact the drafts you feel inside. Caulk your windows outside by first scraping away any old, chipped or peeling caulk. Then after brushing and wiping it clean, apply a new bead of caulk to seal up between the window and the siding. Weatherstrip indoors with one of the many options available: felt, adhesive-backed foam, tubular rubber gaskets, or V-seal. Full window insulation kits allow you to completely seal a window behind a sheet of plastic that you shrink-wrap with a blow dryer. They are very effective, but don't allow you to open the windows until you remove the sheeting in springtime. Winterizing your windows is likely the most inexpensive and DIY-friendly way to make an impact on your fuel costs and comfort in winter.

  • Give Your Furnace a Tune-Up

    Jennifer Noonan | Improvement Center Columnist | October 20, 2016

    HVAC tune up
    Avoid waking up freezing in the middle of the night because your furnace has tanked. Give your furnace a quick tune-up before the heating season starts. Major repairs should be handled by the pros. But homeowners can manage some basic maintenance to keep a furnace running smoothly. Vacuum out the combustion chamber and check the flue for any holes. Oil the bearings, and either clean or replace the filter. If you feel intimidated, or come across any problems, reach out to a qualified HVAC professional. A properly running furnace is not just about comfort -- it's about safety.

    Take a little time up front in fall to attend to these home maintenance tasks, and it will pay off big-time during winter, in both comfort and peace of mind. You can snuggle up to the home fires with confidence that your house will weather the season's bluster until spring arrives.