The Blog of Brian Copeland

Fall Home Maintenance

The investment that you made into your home may be one the most important you will ever make. To protect that investment, a wise homeowner will perform routine and seasonal maintenance to keep it in tip top shape. With Fall here and Winter just around the corner, here are some things you can do now to protect your home:

Have furnace or heating system serviced by a qualified service company every two years for a gas furnace, and every year for an oil furnace, or as recommended by the manufacturer.

If you have central air conditioning, make sure the drain pan under the cooling coil mounted in the furnace plenum is draining properly and is clean.

Check chimneys for obstructions such as nests.

Vacuum electric baseboard heaters to remove dust.

Remove the grilles on forced-air systems and vacuum inside the ducts.

Turn ON gas furnace pilot light (if your furnace has one), set the thermostat to “heat” and test the furnace for proper operation by raising the thermostat setting until the furnace starts to operate. Once you have confirmed proper operation, return the thermostat to the desired setting.

Check and clean or replace furnace air filters each month during the heating season. Ventilation system, such as heat recovery ventilator, filters should be checked every two months.

Check to see that the ductwork leading to and from the heat recovery ventilator is in good shape, the joints are tightly sealed (aluminum tape or mastic) and any duct insulation and plastic duct wrap is free of tears and holes.

Check to see that bathroom exhaust fans and range hoods are operating properly. If possible, confirm that you are getting good airflow by observing the outside vent hood (the exterior damper should be held open by the airflow).

Check smoke, carbon monoxide and security alarms, and replace batteries.

Check sump pump and line to ensure proper operation, and to ascertain that there are no line obstructions or visible leaks.

Replace window screens with storm windows.

Ensure windows and skylights close tightly; repair or replace weatherstripping, as needed.

Ensure all doors to the outside shut tightly, and check other doors for ease of use. Replace door weatherstripping if required.

If there is a door between your house and the garage, check the adjustment of the self-closing device to ensure it closes the door completely.

Cover outside of window air-conditioning units and shut off power.

Ensure that the ground around your home slopes away from the foundation wall, so that water does not drain into your basement.

Clean leaves from eaves troughs and roof, and test downspouts to ensure proper drainage from the roof.

Drain and store outdoor hoses. Close interior valve to outdoor hose connection and drain the hose bib (exterior faucet), unless your house has frost-proof hose bibs.

Winterize landscaping, for example, store outdoor furniture, prepare gardens and, if necessary, protect young trees or bushes for winter.