Ready for winter check list
Those beautiful fall colors forming on the trees and shrubs are not just for your enjoyment. They are also a warning that cold weather waits just around the corner. Those, who do not heed the warning, run the risk of spending more money this winter than they need to and not being as warm and cozy as they might like.
These suggestions can help you, and your clients, be as cozy as can be this winter and not break the bank at the same time.
1) Have you heating and cooling system serviced. Modern heating and cooling systems are more dependent on proper adjustment to achieve the remarkable efficiencies they are capable of than older systems. They also benefit greatly from being kept clean and having filters properly maintained.
2) Confirm that windows and doors shut and seal properly to help reduce heat losses. Replace any worn weather strips and, where appropriate, renew or replace caulking to form a good tight weather seal.
3) Install or close storm windows and doors. It’s a good time to fix up and paint the screens as they are removed and before storing them for the Winter. The spring, when you put the screens back on, is the best time to refurbish your storms before storing them.
4) Disconnect your garden hoses from the outside faucets. Water left in the hose can cause it to burst and, if still connected to the faucet, can cause damage and leakage into the house. If the exterior faucets have shut off valve close them and open the faucet to allow remaining water to drain.
5) Do a visual examination of your roof covering. Look for any loose or damaged shingles and signs that the flashing or caulking may have deteriorated using binoculars if necessary. Have any concerns addressed while the roof is still safe to access.
6) Clean out your gutter system. Debris left in the gutter system will block water flow, allowing it to freeze as temperatures drop. The increased weight can damage the gutters requiring expensive repairs to restore good roof water control. Downspouts and discharge tubes or splash blocks should move water at least six feet away from the foundation.
7) Have any wood burning chimneys swept. Fireplaces are used much more frequently during cooler weather but chimney fires can be a real risk is creosote is allow to accumulate. Check the operation of the damper to help reduce unnecessary heat losses when not in use.
8) Look carefully at the entire exterior of your house starting at ground level.
a. Any evidence of settling that might require filling?
b. Are window wells clear of leaves and debris that might block drainage?
c. Is the siding properly attached and undamaged?
d. Are vent covers for dryer, heat recovery ventilator and bathrooms in place and operational?
e. Is there evidence of decay or damage to windows and doors?
f. Are the fascia and soffits in place, properly attached and showing no signs of decay or damage?
9) Drain sediment from the water heater. Manufacturers usually recommend this at least once a year to help extend the life of the water heater and maintain the proper operation. If the temperature and pressure relief valve is corroded and/or dripping this is a good time to replace it.
10) Check/Install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Install fresh batteries in all smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, replacing any detectors older than 6 or 7 years old. Fire safety officials recommend a smoke detector in each sleeping area and one in each common area per floor (I.E.) hallway, family room, etc. The cooler seasons are when the vast majority of carbon monoxide caused deaths are recorded. Stay safer, have at least one detector per floor!
A well spent couple of hours, pat yourself on the back and enjoy a well deserved cup of hot chocolate and enjoy those remaining fall days.
Mid-America Inspection Services, Engineering Excellence in Home Inspections
Fargo/Moorhead Area Phone: 218-443-3555/ 218-287-0877 Fax: 218-346-7977
Alexandria 320-856-0004, Fergus Falls, Detroit Lakes, Wadena and the Lake Region 218-841-0444