In Saskatoon, our fall weather can be mild or harsh. Sometimes we overlook the simple tasks that will help maintain the value in our homes – that is to keep up with the maintenance our homes require in this type of climate. Here are 8 fall home maintenance tips that will be helpful in preparing for the winter season
1. Prepare for Snowfall
Before the first snowfall in Saskatoon, you’ll see the smart homeowners outside inspecting their property. Remove any rocks, cables, or debris you don’t want to shovel or run over with your snowblower. Stake out garden, lawn and driveway perimeters with markers so that you’re not destroying edging or pathway rocks when cleaning snow.
2. Store Patio Furniture
We all hate a soggy mouldy chair cushion in the spiring – give your cushions a wash, wipe down the other parts (seal them or coat them if you like) and throw a cover on all of your pieces of outdoor furniture before you store them inside for the winter.
3. Blow Out Your Sprinklers
When water freezes it expand and can cause cracking or bursting the pipes in or around your home. Never leave your sprinkler system on during the winter – you wouldn’t want to be repairing or replacing the entire system. Sprinkler blow outs can cost anywhere from $30.00 – $100.00. We found a guy on Kijiji this year who did it for $30.00! Don’t forget to bring any hoses and heads indoors.
4. Clear the Gutters
Water penetration is the number one cause of damage to different parts of a home. For those of you who live in a mature area with lots of trees, you may want to clean your gutters twice a year. Clean gutters means the water can runoff the house properly and into the downspouts. Ensure your downspouts are at least 6 feet away from your house, which allows the water to flow away from the home and not seep into the earth surrounding the foundation walls. While you’re cleaning the downspouts, it’s a good opportunity to check the state of your shingles. Ensure downspouts do not allow water to fall directly on your shingles (this causes unnecessary wear)- attach an extender that directs the water to the eavestroughs.
5. Seal Windows & Doors
Sealing windows and doors not only helps to make your home more energy efficient, it keeps the critters and allergens out and it can even extend their lifespan. Use caulking, weather stripping, window insulator kits and new door sweeps if needed. Don’t forget your garage doors and windows!
6. Tune Up The Furnace
Not only will a well-tuned furnace last longer, it will save you on your energy bills. Replace filters, vacuum dust up to ensure proper air flow, make sure your flame is blue, and invest in a tune up by a professional every few years. Watch for red flags like rust, cracking, irregular noises,or a discoloured flame. If you have warranty on your furnace, you’ll be required to maintain your system.
7. Prepare Your Fireplace
If you are a homeowner with a wood fireplace, and you’d like to use it during the winter – obtaining a WETT Certification wouldn’t be a bad idea as it may affect your insurance rates. Clean out any ash/soot from your fireplace and inspect it for cracks or missing mortar. Check your flue and damper to ensure it’s working properly and clear any debris from them. If you use your fireplace often, clean the chimney and inspect the area around it to ensure there aren’t any trees or debris overhanging the opening. Ensure all components on the exterior and interior are intact and in proper working order. For gas fireplaces, ensure there are no cracks in the glass, and that there are no soot marks near the exhaust.
8. Bleed the Rads
At least once per year, you should bleed any radiators you have in your home (typically older homes and some apartments). Trapped air can displace the hot water that usually heats the radiator and the top section will end up being cooler than the bottom section, or in severe cases the entire radiator will stay cold when the heating system is turned on. This air gets released when you bleed your radiator allowing the hot water to flow freely again. Make sure your heating system is off before you begin the process, and start on the bottom floor.
Stay warm and cozy this winter everyone, and please remember that some of these items require a service professional and if you’re not familiar with these systems, I would recommend utilizing a professional service.