GREATER PITTSBURGH REAL ESTATE INFORMATION

Preparing for Fall

An End-of-Summer Home Maintenance Checklist

Photo courtesy of Pixabay by MariaMichele

 

Fall is a time when we think of leaves changing colors as the weather gets cooler. Of course, the changing seasons can also be a reminder to homeowners that it’s time to finish your end-of-summer home maintenance projects before the weather gets too cold.

 

Winter weather costs American homeowners billions of dollars each year. By taking a few proactive steps this season, you can save money on potentially costly home repairs. Best of all, you’ll also be helping protect the safety and comfort of yourself and your loved ones.

 

Here’s an end-of-summer home maintenance checklist with some expert recommendations:

 

Preventing Frozen Water Pipes
If you’re a new homeowner or if you’re not used to living in a colder climate, these might be two home maintenance tasks that could easily get overlooked. However, it’s important to make sure your hot water heater is in working condition and your water pipes are protected from a winter freeze.

 

When water pipes freeze or burst in the winter, they can be expensive to fix. You can prevent this by insulating your pipes with special materials such as pipe sleeves or heat tape. Leaving your pipes trickling on cold winter nights will also help encourage water flow.

 

Hot Water Heater

There are few things worse than your hot water heater going out in the middle of winter. In addition to the expensive repairs, the last thing you want is to have to take a cold shower on an even colder day. Even worse, leaks could be damaging to other parts of your home, including the walls and floors.

 

Appliances have expiration dates so have your hot water heater serviced regularly by a professional. Ensure there are no leaks, rust or other issues that could cause damages.

 

Prevent Unwanted “Guests”

Unwanted critters often try to sneak indoors to escape the cold during the winter. This includes bugs, rodents, raccoons, and anything in between. Smaller animals like mice and insects can squeeze into your home through small gaps in the exterior.

 

Fall is the perfect time to protect your home from these unwanted houseguests. Be sure to fill any holes or gaps in order to keep these creatures out of your home this winter.

 

Heating and Air Conditioning

The best time to do a heating and air conditioning checkup is during the spring and fall. This allows you to repair any potential problems before the temperatures start to fluctuate too much. Qualified contractors can perform a tune-up, repairing any issues while also optimizing performance and efficiency.

 

Gutters and Downspouts

You should regularly clean your gutters as part of your home maintenance schedule. This is especially important in the fall, when leaves are more likely to clog your gutters and downspouts.

 

Although you can clean your own gutters and downspouts on your own, many homeowners prefer to hire a licensed gutter cleaner. If you choose to hire a professional, shop around for a trusted contractor who provides the best price. HomeAdvisor estimates the average price to clean gutters and downspouts in the Pittsburgh area ranges from $84 to $153, and the job takes approximately three hours.

 

Hiring a professional saves time and reduces the risk of injuries or falls from a ladder. Whether you do the cleaning yourself or leave it to the professionals, this is a task you shouldn’t overlook. When gutters become clogged with leaves, they can cause rainwater to pool and damage your roof or the siding of your home.

 

Insulation

Insulating your windows can help keep heat inside your home during colder months, saving you money on your heating bills. Start by using special sealing or film around the edges of your windows.

 

You could also install cellular shades, which allow light to enter your home while helping insulation your home from the cold air. For a hi-tech alternative, you might consider switching to smart windows, which can change based upon the weather and include a helpful on/off switch.

 

In addition to tackling the bigger seasonal projects listed above, the transition from summer to fall is also a great reminder for checking your air filters and testing your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. These simple steps can save you headaches and money down the road.

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