Autumn is here and winter is just around the corner so there are some things that absolutely must be done to maintain the safety and value of your Denver home. Here is a list of the Top 10 Fall Maintenance Items to help you get started:
1. Clean and repair storm windows, so they can be installed before the snow flies.
2. Caulk windows and trim. Caulk won't stick to moist surfaces so be sure to do this before a rain. Look for cracks in the trim around the windows and siding of your house and the corners where trim comes together. Fill cracks with a quality outdoor caulk. If you discover any cracks that are wider than an eighth of an inch or deeper than a half-inch, push in flexible foam backer rod with a putty knife first and then caulk.
3. Check decks for moisture. Wooden decks must be protected from water with a deck treatment or wood stain. Depending on your deck's exposure, it may need to be sealed everytwo years or even yearly if it's in a damp or north facing area.
4. Touch up exterior paint. Paint is a mechanism to prevent damage to a home's exterior. In dry weather, inspect your home's exterior looking for paint that has peeled or cracked. Scrape, sand and fill holes with exterior patching compound, brush primer on bare spots, then follow with paint.
5. Clean and service the furnace. Forced-air furnaces are complex pieces of equipment and they are more expensive to run and even dangerous if not properly maintained. A poorly maintained furnace can let deadly carbon monoxide escape. Call a licensed specialist to service it for you; servicing involves cleaning the furnace parts, lubricating as needed, and testing for leaking gas. Be sure to check the filters monthly all winter long and change as needed.
6. Clean and inspect the chimney. Once a year, or after you've burned a cord of wood, this will need to be done. Creosote, a flammable byproduct of burning wood, builds up inside the chimney flue and a clogged chimney can cause a fire or carbon monoxide poisoning. Hire a trained chimney sweep to clean and inspect for damage to the chimney, flashings and the seal on the chimney's surface. Chimneys made of brick, stone or other masonry in cold areas need to be sealed every three years or so. Sealing keeps moisture from soaking the mortar.
7. Clean out the gutters and roof valleys. As soon as leaves begin to plug them up, gutters and roof valleys need to be cleaned out and, depending on the types of trees around your home, that may be several times a year. Pine needles and leaves can clog pipes and roof valleys that move rain water off the roof. If the water can't drain out, it gathers around the foundation and in the crawl space, rotting house supports and encouraging mold and mildew. Use a trowel or your hands to remove the debris from gutters and a broom on the roof valleys then spray water from a hose through gutters to ensure they're clear.
8. Switch ceiling fans from summer to winter. Fans should run clockwise in winter and counterclockwise in summer. In summer, you want the fan to push cool air down so you should be able to stand under the fan and feel a breeze. In winter, it's the opposite. You'll find the fan blade switch on the outside body of the fan. When using a ceiling fan all year long, you can adjust your thermostat lower in winter, higher in summer to save money. Ceiling fans will run half the day for about $1.50 a month, far less than running a central air unit.
9. Seal cracks in asphalt paving. Before winter sand and salt get into those cracks making them far worse by spring time, these cracks need to be filled with a caulking gun and asphalt patching caulk. Simply push it into cracks and use a putty knife to smooth it. If you ignore asphalt cracks, water will soak under the pavement, making it mushy and creating potholes when you drive on it. In addition, apply asphalt sealer at least every five years.
10.Winterize the lawnmower and tune up the snow blower. You can store your lawn mower after you have removed any fuel to prevent moisture buildup and fuel line damage and changed the oil, if needed. Now you need to service your chainsaw and snow blower to be sure they're working well on the winter day you need them.
Fall is the best time to take care of any maintenance issues before the winter makes most of them difficult or even impossible. Your dream home in the Denver area will hold its value far better when you do.
Until next time,