Home Maintenance Jobs You Should Really Tackle Before the Cold Sets In
There are plenty of reasons why the end of summer is the best time to focus on home maintenance.
For one, the colder seasons are on the horizon and a lot can go wrong with your home during the fall and winter months. Home repairs are also harder to accomplish when it’s cold outside. In the end, a little maintenance now can save you thousands of dollars in potential repairs down the line. Here are some tasks you most certainly should not put off.
One of the most costly (and frankly, catastrophic) events that can happen during the colder months is a busted pipe. Frozen pipes are more than just a nuisance. As the summer comes to a close, don’t put off essential pipe maintenance. Before the first frost, you should disconnect all outdoor hoses and turn off your main water supply valve to all pipes leading to outdoor spigots.
That’s the base level (read: bare minimum) pipe maintenance you can do. If you really want to protect your pipes, you should insulate all non-insulated pipes in your home with foam. Beyond that, it’s vital that you check the condition of your sump pump. You should clean the pump itself,
as well as the pit in which it resides, to avoid basement flooding during winter rains and snow melt. It’s not too hard to do it yourself; here’s a good guide to get you started.
Replacing Air Filters
Chances are your HVAC has been pulling double duty during the summer’s hot months. As the temperatures change and you begin switching over to heat, it’s the perfect time to make sure all the filters in your home’s HVAC system are brand new. It’s wise to switch out filters every 90 days, especially if you use your unit a lot. Also, make note of the filter size to ensure you’re purchasing the correct one, and pay attention to the MERV rating. In short: the higher the rating, the more dust particles and allergens it will prevent you from breathing. In fact, proper maintenance of your HVAC will help keep your family — especially children and the elderly — healthy overall by cutting down on the amount of pollution inside your home.
Replacing the Batteries in Your Detectors
Considering batteries are just a few bucks, it makes sense that you would prioritize replacing them in your smoke/carbon monoxide detectors. This is a good job for the end of summer because as the temperature plummets, you will be cooking indoors and lighting fires more often and your gas-powered units will be working overtime. The risk of home fires increases dramatically during the winter months.
Sealing Your Doors and Windows
You can lose a significant amount of heat through even the smallest gaps in your home’s portals — your doors and windows. Before the cold hits you really need to seal these cracks to save yourself a lot of money on heating costs. For doors you can use weatherstripping or foam tape, both of which are easy and inexpensive. You can also recaulk your windows and doors. Here are some more tips for cold-proofing your portals.
They say you shouldn’t put off till tomorrow what you can do today, and that is especially true when it comes to winterization and home maintenance. You can save yourself literally thousands of dollars and innumerable headaches by taking a few hours of your time and completing some easy, DIY-friendly tasks.
Don’t delay. Winter is coming.
Paul Denikin is passionate about sharing his experiences working on DIY projects to benefit people with special needs children. His initial efforts were all motivated by the desire to make his home more accessible for her.