Fall Home Checklist
Turn Your Furnace On
Your thermostat often gets turned to the off position in the summer. A minimum temperature setting of at least 45 degrees is recommended (50-55 degrees is even better). Furthermore, if you have a gas fireplace or gas appliance make sure the pilot is in the ‘On’ position, not ‘Pilot’. When applicable it’s a good idea to set fireplace thermostats to minimum temperature settings as a backup should your furnace fail.
Turn Off Your Water
It is recommended that you turn off the water at your home whenever you leave. It’s the cheapest insurance possible to prevent water damage from a frozen or leaking pipe. Automatic ice makers, dishwasher and supply lines for the washing machine are prone to damage and leaks. Consider replacing these lines every few years. Many homeowners use anti-freeze in drains and toilets as an extra layer of protection. If you get the ‘pink’ RV kind it’s reasonably safe for pets, our environment and the waste treatment plant.
Turn Off Water To Hoses And Lawn Sprinklers
When temperatures fall below freezing, water in the faucet can freeze and burst pipes. Drain residual water from sprinkler systems and spray nozzles. Don’t forget to disconnect all hoses to prevent broken hose bibs.
Cover Or Store Outdoor Furniture And BBQ’s
Try to store these items in your garage, under a deck or a location that is protected from the elements. If this isn’t an option consider covering them with tarps or fitted covers.
Close Foundation Vents
When temperatures fall below freezing exposed pipes under a house can freeze. Closing your crawl space vents will reduce the risk of frozen pipes. Insulating or installing heat tape on these pipes may also prevent them from freezing.
Set Up Snow Removal
Be sure to contract with a reputable local snow removal company for your driveway service. Contract early so that your driveway will be staked before it snows. This will help prevent damage to your driveway and landscaping.
Check Windows And Doors For Air Leaks
With windows and doors closed, turn on exhaust fans, then take an incense stick and hold it near windows and doors. If smoke blows horizontally, you have a leak. Seal small ones with caulk; larger ones with expanding foam or foam board. Add weatherstripping around doors.
Review The Settings On Your Thermostat
Schedules change from year to year. Make sure the ones you set last year still make sense. If you don’t have a programmable thermostat, consider getting one with automatic setbacks so you don’t accidentally leave your heat up while you are not at home.
Consider Installing a WiFi Thermostat
For a second home owner, this is a great product to allow you to monitor your homes temperature (and get alerts if the temperature gets too low). Turn up the furnace as you pass through Auburn and turn it back down remotely after you or your guests leave.
Have A Professional Service Your Home Heating System
A properly maintained heating system is likely to work better, run more efficiently and last longer. Malfunctioning systems increase the risk of carbon monoxide poisoning and may result in higher heating bills.
Replace Furnace Filters
Dirty filters make your furnace work harder. Be sure to vacuum heat registers frequently and make sure that furniture isn’t blocking them. Purchase a handful of filters now and set a recurring event on your smartphone, computer or tablet to remind you to replace the filters regularly.
Have Your Chimney Inspected And Cleaned
If you regularly have fires creosote builds up in your fireplace and chimney if you have regular fires. This buildup eventually becomes a fire hazard and causes your fireplace to lose efficiency. A basic chimney inspection and clean will cost about $175 to $200.
Gas Fireplaces Need To Be Tuned Up Too
Your gas fireplace should be inspected and serviced regularly to make sure the flame is properly adjusted and insects haven’t moved into the fireplace and clogged the jets and burners. As a bonus you will get the glass cleaned during the service.
Change The Direction On Your Ceiling Fan
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. This will gently draw room air up towards the ceiling and warm down and out towards the walls.
Get Your Snowblower Tuned Up
Now is a great time to have your snowblower tuned up before the snow flies. Be a hero and plan ahead to avoid the last minute rush during the snow storm.
Check Your Tires & Chains
Assess your tires and chains now so you don’t have anything holding you back when the snow starts flying.
Check Smoke Detectors And Fire Extinguishers
You probably know that it’s a good idea to check the batteries in your smoke detectors when you change your clocks, but did you know that smoke and CO detectors don’t last forever? Smoke detectors should be replaced every 10 years and CO detectors every 5 years. If you have a combo smoke/CO alarm, replace it after 5 years. Manufacture dates are on the back of the detectors. Similarly, fire extinguishers should be replaced after 12 years or after you’ve used them.
Turn On The Heat Tape On Your Roof Or Furnace Condensation Line
If you use heat tape make sure it is plugged in, turned on and that the fasteners are not loose or broken.
Order Your Firewood
Give yourself plenty of time to get it stacked and stored before the weather changes. The sooner you order the better chance you have of getting properly ‘seasoned’ dry wood.
Have Your Garage Door Tuned Up
Bolts on your garage door work loose over time. Your tracks and springs need regular lubrication and adjustments. A tune up with insure that your garage door works safely and properly.
Get Your Skis or Snowboards Tuned
You’ll be more likely to get a quality, timely tune instead of waiting until ski shops are overwhelmed. Even if your legs aren’t ready at least your skis will be ready when things turn white and fluffy.