The fall season offers homeowners a final chance to prepare for the upcoming cold weather. Be sure that everything is good condition and that your house is ready to weather the storm. It's also a great opportunity to increase your home's energy efficiency – thus saving you money on your energy bills.
Taking care of your furnace is the most important thing you can do in the wintertime. What we hear from heating and cooling contractors is that the most common reason for emergency calls is because the furnace wasn't properly maintained. Investing in a checkup this fall costs anywhere from $60 to $100 and is money well spent.
If you have a roof problem it's going to obviously let water into your house eventually, which can damage the underside of the roof deck itself that's what the shingles are nailed to as well as drip down and get into the interior drywall of the house the structure itself.
Roofing Contractor Jim Keffer says, "The easiest way to see if you have a roof problem from interior of the house is to obviously inspect the ceilings; you can go up in the attic and see if you see any dark spots or stains on the underside of the roof itself."
Jeff also points out, "The primary problem if you don't clean out your gutters is that the down spouts will clog; leaves and debris will get into the gutters. They will work their way over to the downspouts and keep that from draining out of the gutters, which will cause the gutters themselves to overflow causing excess moisture around the perimeter of the house."
"Unless you're looking for unwanted guests this winter it's going to be important to make sure your house is sealed tight. The first step is to walk around the exterior of your house and look for any small cracks or holes. Remember even the tiniest crack can be inviting to unwanted guests. Get your caulk gun out and make sure they are all sealed tight," advises Angie Hicks.
Check for drafts and air leaks on the inside of your home. Walk around and check windows and doors, an easy way to do that is to take a candle and if the flame flickers near the window you'll need to provide some extra sealant on those windows.
Angie's List Tips: Your home's fall Checklist
- Roof: The roof is one of the most important parts of the house because it provides direct shelter from the elements. It's also one of the most expensive and time-consuming to fix. Roofing contractors suggest you have your roof inspected in the fall before winter, and again in the spring, after winter. A roof inspection can help identify potential signs that could lead to major problems – some roofing companies don't charge for this service. Replace any cracked or damaged shingles or roofing pieces.
- Gutters: Your gutters are responsible for protecting your roof by removing excess water and draining it back to the ground. It gutters are blocked, water can accumulate on the roof causing damage. Clean your gutters and downspouts late in the fall season. Leaves can hold water, which in turn becomes ice, adding weight to your gutters and roof.
- Service your heating system: Schedule an appointment to service your heating system. A tune up can make sure it's in top working order. Check your furnace filters each month and replace if necessary. A clean filter distributes heat better and cuts your energy costs. Plus, it's an inexpensive and easy task.
- Weather-strip windows and doors: New, energy-efficient replacement windows are a high-end investment not all homeowners can afford. There are, however, lower-cost remedies that can be effective - Caulk, seal and weather-strip doors and windows where drafts are detected is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to save on heating costs. Find drafts by walking through your home with a lit candle. Drafts will put the smoke in that direction, making it easier to determine where the cold air is seeping in.
A handyman can conduct an inspection of the home to determine what steps need to be taken to improve the home. They can also help determine where air is escaping around windows and exterior doors.