Fall is here! That means it’s time for some autumn home maintenance. As a homeowner, there is a lot you can do to reduce the chance of a costly wintertime home repair disaster, make your home safer and save a bit of money. Here are some of the most important tasks to do now.
Install carbon monoxide detectors. Carbon monoxide is a deadly, colorless gas. A carbon monoxide detector could save the lives of everyone in your home in the event of a malfunctioning furnace, hot water heater, stove, room heater or fireplace. CO alarms should be installed outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home.
Test your smoke detectors. If they are battery-powered, change the batteries, too. Make sure you have smoke alarms inside each bedroom, outside each sleeping area and on every level of the home, including the basement.
Clean your gutters. By helping to direct rainwater away from your home, gutters prevent water damage. But they can’t do their job when they are clogged with leaves and other debris. It’s a job you’ll want to do — or hire someone to do — twice each year. You’ll also want to clean out your downspouts and make sure water is being directed away from your home. While you’re at it, inspect your roof — or have a professional inspect it — so that any damage can be fixed before winter.
Clean your chimney. Before you start your first fire of the season, have your fireplace or wood stove chimney cleaned and inspected. It’s an important way to prevent a home fire.
Reverse your ceiling fans. Warm air rises, so switching your fan’s blades so they run in a clockwise direction after you turn on your heat will push warm air back down into the room. (Fans should run counterclockwise in the summer months.) In the winter, changing the direction of your blades can save on heating costs, especially in rooms with high or vaulted ceilings.
Caulk around windows and doors. Caulk doesn’t cost a lot but can make a real difference in terms of energy savings throughout your home.
Divert water away from your home. It’s easy to add extensions to your home’s downspouts so that water runs at least three to four feet away from your home. Doing so can prevent too much water from pooling near your foundation and entering your home.