As the seasons change, so do our home improvement projects and chores. Now is a great time to do seasonal maintenance to keep your home running smoothly through the winter. Here in the Pacific Northwest, the weather can change quickly, so preparation is key. We've got 10 recommendations that can save you from costly aggravations down the road.
- Have your furnace inspected. Hire an HVAC professional to test for leaks, check heating efficiency, and change the filter. It’s also a good idea to stock up on filters and check them monthly. Most heating systems last about 12-15 years, but with proper maintenance they can last much longer. We have great recommendations for HVAC pros in your area.
- Clean your gutters. Once the leaves are off the trees, it’s time to clean those gutters. When your gutters back up, they can overflow. When water runs down your home, it speeds up the deterioration of its exterior. It can also lead to foundation issues, water infiltration, or damage to concrete porches and walks -- all of which could require costly repairs. Here are some of Fresh Chalk's recommended gutter pros.
- Check the chimney and fireplace. If you have a wood burning fireplace and use it, have it cleaned and checked by a professional. It’s also an opportunity to find out if a bird or squirrel has made a home in your chimney. There are great chimney contractors everywhere! And don't forget to stock up on firewood.
- Fertilize your lawn. Applying fall lawn fertilizer will help prevent winter damage and spring weeds. The fall is also the best time to plant new bushes and shrubs and to get your spring bulbs into the ground. Choose bulbs that are hardy and won't be susceptible to freezing temperatures. Landscapers are a great resource for helping with these decisions.
- Caulk around windows. Warm air can escape and cold air can enter your house if the area around your windows has cracks. Fall is a good time to see if caulking needs to be replaced or if holes need to be patched.
- Fix cracks in concrete and asphalt. When the rainy season hits in the PNW it can last for several months. Take time to inspect your concrete and fill in any cracks so that water cannot get in and freeze over the winter. Contact a concrete specialist for help.
- Start composting. Fall is great time to start composting. All of those piles of leaves will bring gardening gold next summer.
- Make sure your attic doesn’t become a critter hotel. With the weather changing, everyone is looking for a warm spot to take shelter, and critters are no exception. Trim your trees way back and make sure there are no holes in the roof that birds get through. Contact an insulation specialist if problems arise, or if it's too late, contact an exterminator.
- Do a quick energy audit. A professional energy auditor will check homes entry points and make sure no drafts are coming through your windows, doors or outlets. Insulation and HVAC companies often conduct energy audits to help keep the cold out.
- Prepare for snow! Last year Seattle had the snowiest month in 50 years. When the snow was forecasted everyone headed for the stores to buy shovels and rock salt. Sadly, they were met with empty shelves. Hardware stores were hard pressed to keep winter items in stock. This year, be prepared.
Have you worked with a great professional on a winterizing project? Recommend them today, or share your own tips with us!