September 23rd is the official first day of autumn and despite our recent warm weather, cooler temperatures are right around the corner. Now is the ideal time to prepare your home for fall, ensuring you and your family will be safe and warm during the chilly and hopefully rainy days ahead.
Below are a few keys things to check and repair around your home.
Clean & repair gutters and downspouts
As deciduous trees lose their foliage, the leaves can clog gutters and downspouts. It is much easier, cleaner and safer to remove any debris while it is dry. Remove all leaves from gutters and make sure all downspouts are cleared out. If any portions of your gutters appear damaged, take time to fix them now. If you need to put extra drainage tubing in place to keep water away from your house, this is also wise to do in advance.
Repair steps, drive and walkways
Deal with any potential hazards including loose stair railings, uneven areas, cracks of 1/8 inch or more, or crumbling and damaged asphalt. Cracks in walkways can often be fixed easily with caulking or a bit of mortar while minor asphalt damage can be repaired with premixed blacktop. Anything more significant, call in a specialist.
Odds are, even if you weatherproofed your home this time last year, more sneaky gaps have appeared due to materials expanding and contracting. Take a peek around windows and doors for light or cracks, sealing with silicon where appropriate and replace old weather striping with new. Also inspect and caulk other entry points such as electric, cable, gas and phone junctions. Sealing up these areas will keep the warm air inside and save you money.
Resolve roof problems
Have a licensed roofer inspect your home’s roof for any damaged shingles, corroded flashing or leaky vents. Taking care of these minor repairs in advance will ensure your home is sealed tight against whatever weather this winter will bring. Should your roof need replacing, now is most definitely the right time.
Clean your chimney
It is always wise to have your chimney inspected annually for creosote build-up, which can result in dangerous chimney fires. If needed, have it and your fireplace or insert cleaned so you are ready for that warm, cozy fire.
Inspect your furnace
Just as important is an annual inspection of your forced air furnace. A licensed HVAC vendor will check for leaks, replace squeaky belts, adjust the burners and replace the filter. If you haven’t had your heating ducts cleaned in awhile, this can definitely impact your furnace’s performance as well.
Test and replace batteries in all smoke detectors. Ensure you have detectors outside every bedroom and on each level of your home. A carbon monoxide detector is also required on all levels, preferably near HVAC and other gas sources. Combination smoke and CO detectors are available as are detectors with 10-year batteries, eliminating the need for replacing annually (although it is still wise to test them at least twice a year). Review our blog about California smoke detector laws for a quick refresher.
Tackling these inspections and repairs on your Los Altos home in advance of the cold and wet winter will save you time, money and frustration during the coming.