Summer has finally faded, and at last, outrageous temperatures are starting to cool to more comfortable territory. As a homeowner, you have successfully outlasted the hottest months of the year. Now is the right time to take stock of how the elements have affected your home, and begin thinking of what needs to be done to prepare for the cold months ahead.
Help Your Heating and Air Unit
Chances are that mother nature put your HVAC unit to work this summer. Consistently high temperatures put a higher demand on your AC, so why not return it the favor and give it a thorough tune up? Replace your air filters every one to two months as the temperatures begin to drop to save on energy costs and keep your HVAC running smoothly. Check out the evaporator coil of your unit and clean it, if necessary. Keeping your coil clean will allow easier passage of air through your system and preserve the integrity of your unit.
If you have a window AC unit, be sure to check the seal between the unit and the window for any gaps that could cause air to flow in and out of your house. Sometimes, warmer temperatures can cause this seal to warp and create space for air to escape. Not only will this cause warmer air to enter the home during the summer, but it will also be a problem later on when you want to keep the warm air in your home for the cold months.
Tackle the Garage
Few people look forward to cleaning the garage, but as summer shifts to autumn, it should be an important item on your fall maintenance checklist. If it’s been awhile since you cleaned it, it’s likely that pests, like spiders, ants, and even termites, have made themselves a home there, since they are extremely active in the warm months and will be looking for refuge as the weather cools down. To make the process as painless as possible, use a backpack vacuum cleaner to suck up dirt, fallen leaves, and even creepy crawlers. These handy devices are easy to tote around, don’t require you to bend over to use them like a shop vac does, and have extra-long cords so you can check this task off your to-do list in record time.
Protect Your Pipes
It’s critical to be cognizant of the current state of your water pipes. High temperatures can do quite a number on your pipes and cause them to warp, expand, and possibly even fracture. If you’ve noticed any problems with your water pressure or drainage, now is a good time to check your home’s pipes for any signs of wear and tear. It is important to handle any vulnerabilities in your pipe system now, because once temperatures begin to drop more dramatically, your pipes will be at risk for freezing and rupturing. There are many different steps you can take now to reduce the likelihood of your pipes freezing in the winter. Proper insulation is the best way to keep your pipes warm and flowing freely. Check the coldest areas (basements, attics, crawl spaces) of your home for any exposed pipes, and reinforce them with extra insulation. Simple home insulating materials can work, but if you are especially concerned about your pipes freezing, you might consider heat tape or thermos-controlled heat cables.
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Finally, take stock of your indoor appliances. High temperatures can potentially affect the electrical wiring of indoor electronics. This is the time you want to take to make sure that all of your appliances, such as microwaves, refrigerators, and dryer/washing machines, are all intact. Out of all the appliances in your home, none are more valuable than the devices meant to keep you safe. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors are perhaps the most important devices in your home that could possibly save your life. Surprisingly, these appliances are often overlooked by homeowners, given their low-maintenance demand. Although these devices do not constantly demand our attention, it is important to inspect them regularly to make sure they are operating correctly. Replace batteries and check to make sure your devices are functional to ensure they will keep running as winter approaches.
Now that the temperatures are cooling, it’s tempting to sit back and relax. But before you snuggle up next to the fire, knock out your list of home maintenance tasks so you truly have no worries.
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