Prepare Your Home for Fall

Old man winter is still months away, but if you do any shopping this week you'€™ll notice Back to School aisles, Halloween decorations, and fall-themed decor everywhere. Along with school shopping and putting out the leaf-shaped candy dish, homeowners should be planning to prepare their home for fall. It'€™s early, but you'€™ll find it easier to do repairs and cleaning over the next few weekends while the weather is still warm. It might be good to start on the cabin, too, so you aren'€™t making a chilly October trip just for winterizing. Here are five tasks that we recommend for late summer and fall:

Check the roof. When the winter wind starts howling, you'€™ll be glad for a solid roof over your head! Right now, you can check flashing to ensure that rain and melting snow can'€™t enter the home. Look for and replace worn roof shingles or tiles and search for other signs of damage. If you'€™re hesitant about climbing onto the roof, you can actually see a lot from the ground using a pair of binoculars.
While you'€™re at it, you can also check for dead or overgrown tree limbs that could break during a storm and damage the roof. Fall is a great time of year to do some tree trimming. Before you check the roof, you might want to read our blog '€œSigns Your Roof Needs Replacing.'€ If you do notice extensive signs of aging or damage to your roof, give New Exteriors a call for a free estimate.

Check around your windows: If you'€™ve opened and closed the windows a lot this summer, chances are the seals are filthy. Dirt and debris can gather over the course of the summer months and prevent a tight seal from forming. During the winter plenty of heat can escape through those gaps, small as they might seem.
Take some time to go around the house, inspecting and cleaning each window. It'€™s good to do this now before putting up storm windows (if you have them). You might notice the weather stripping has worn down; this is the perfect time to replace it. If any window is not working properly or if it needs repair or replacement, you'€™ll be glad you checked before icy weather hits!

Many homeowners shrink-wrap plastic over old single-paned glass every year, or shiver all winter from the drafts. If that sounds awfully familiar, consider contacting New Exteriors to learn more about energy-efficient windows.

Winterize your pipes. Believe it or not, this is a great time to winterize your pipes, before colder weather keeps you procrastinating. You'€™ll need some water pipe insulation (pre-split down one side) and a razor blade.
First, inspect the pipes under your home to find any that need insulating. (Don'€™t forget to inspect all pipes. If they already have insulation, it could need replacing.) Simply measure and cut how much insulation you'€™ll need, then wrap it around the pipe. Also, walk around the exterior of your house to see if there are exposed entry points around pipes and seal them.

Check your furnace and air ducts. On a nice cool evening, perform a short test run on the furnace. If there are any lasting smells (other than the usual short odor when you first fire it up), call a professional before winter. Hiring a professional to clean and tune up your furnace once a year can prevent problems over time.
You can also plan ahead by stocking up on air filters which are usually changed once per month while the heater is running. If you have a propane or oil furnace, be sure to top off your fuel storage tank so it'€™s ready to go.

Ducts aren'€™t always easy to locate, but you should find some exposed in the attic, basement and crawlspaces. Look for and repair pinched piping, which impedes heated air flow to the house. Also fix gaps with a metal-backed tape. Despite the name and repair fame, duct tape won'€™t stand up to the job over time.

Ducts also should be vacuumed once every few years to remove dust, animal hair and other gunk that accumulates in them and can cause respiratory problems.

Clear out the gutters. You can do this job later, once the leaves fall. Using hands or a kitchen utensil, remove leaves and debris then rinse the gutters with a hose. As you'€™re rinsing, pay attention to water flow. Inspect for leaks or misaligned gutters to see if any repairs or replacement are needed. Also check the down-spouts to see if they'€™re carrying water away from your foundation, where water could cause cracks or other damage. New Exteriors can replace any damaged gutters.
Hopefully this helps you get a head start on your winterizing. Of course there is some pre-winter maintenance that can be done on chimneys and decks if you have them, but we covered the main items. Enjoy the last couple weeks of summer!

Sources:

http://homebuying.about.com/od/buyingahome/qt/92607_WinterHom.htm

http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=13107899

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