As the days start to get shorter and school is, at least theoretically, back in session, there are plenty of autumn joys to charm even the most sun-hungry beachgoers – apple cider, comfy sweaters, pumpkin spice everything.
Noticeably absent from the list are chores – the kind of routine maintenance that needs to be done sometime before winter sets in. But let’s face it: like it or not, it’s better to put in a little time now than a lot of time and money further on down the line if something (or more than one thing) isn’t ready to handle the harsh winter months ahead.
So make sure to tick the following items off your to-do list this fall (unless you can wrangle up a handyman to do it for you).
Make Sure Your Boiler or Furnace is in Working Order
Whichever heating system your home uses, it’s best to have it examined and serviced before you need to use it – and not just because you won’t want to freeze. Many of the necessary maintenance services require that the unit be disabled and not in use.
For a boiler, even if you don’t get it fully serviced you’ll want to check the pressure, bleed the radiators, and make sure the condensate pipe is well-insulated. If your home has a furnace, it’s important to check the filters, igniter, blower motor, and heat exchanger.
Both units should be checked to make sure they don’t cause carbon monoxide poisoning – the furnace because of chimney buildup, and the boiler due to leaky pipes. This is also a great time to check the batteries on your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and make sure they’re working.
Perform Gutter Maintenance
Ideally, gutters should be cleaned and serviced twice a year, in spring and autumn. But even – or especially – if the spring gutter cleaning was skipped over, it’s important to make sure that your gutters are clear, securely fastened to your home, and free of rust or leaks before winter’s increased rainfall. Snow can bear down heavily on unsecured gutters or clogs can freeze, causing the gutters to split or fall down. Gutter maintenance should be included in the fall services provided by a reliable handyman.
Weatherproof Your Doors and Windows
There are lots of window treatment options to make sure your house is well-insulated before the frost sets in, but one thing is certain – air leaks in door or windows can cause your teeth to chatter and your energy bill to skyrocket. Weather-stripping can go a long way to keeping cold air out, but installing interior or exterior storm windows is the gold standard if you live in an area where the temperatures edge towards freezing.
Check the Fireplace and Chimney
It’s especially important to do a bit of fireplace and chimney maintenance if you plan on using your fireplace this winter. Creosote, a glossy, tar-like substance that’s a byproduct of burning wood, can build up inside a chimney – and it’s highly flammable. Routine maintenance for a fireplace and chimney can help prevent a dangerous chimney or house fire, as well as check for blockages made by critters who love to take up home in chimneys over the warmer months.
Ensure Your Home’s Plumbing is Ready for Winter
To avoid the risk of pipes freezing over the course of the winter – something which has the potential to bring about a costly repair, or worse, disastrous flooding – it’s a good idea to check for leaks and make sure your home’s pipes are well-insulated before the temperatures drop to freezing. And, if your home has a sump pump, you’ll definitely want to check up on it ahead of the season when it’s needed most.
Give Your Hot Water Heater Some TLC
Aside from setting your hot water heater to 120 degrees, there are a few things you can do (or have a handyman do) to make sure it lives a long, fruitful life. It’s a good idea to check the pressure relief valve to ensure it’s working, as well as to flush the storage tank to get rid of sediment that’s collected.
Ensure Thermostats Are Functioning Properly
If you’ve given your thermostat a rest over the spring and summer, it’s definitely time to make sure it’s in working order. Check to see that the batteries are charged and it’s responsive, and then test to see that the heat and air conditioning comes on and doesn’t shut before nearing the desired temperature. If you’re unsure whether a problem results from the thermostat or the heating/cooling unit itself, consult an expert. Whether you have a conventional or smart thermostat, a trained technician will be able to diagnose the issue, saving you cash and trouble in the long run.
Make Sure the Dryer Vent is Clear
While this may not seem like a seasonal chore, it’s a good idea to ensure the dryer vent is unobstructed at least twice a year. A damaged or clogged vent can not only cause laundry to dry more slowly and raise the power bill, but can also be a serious safety risk – faulty vents or clogged lint traps are a leading cause of house fires. While it doesn’t matter exactly when you check, it’s definitely more pleasant to do it before the weather turns.
Don’t Forget the Garage
If there’s ever a time to take care of a garage door repair, autumn is it. Your garage protects essentials like bikes and lawnmowers from the elements, and of course keeps your car out of the snow – but it also provides a valuable insulation point between the house and the outdoors. Make sure your garage door and the remote controls are in working order, and reap the benefits of a well-insulated home when the power bill arrives.
Puls Offers Full Handyman Services
Don’t see your needed handyman services on the list? Don’t worry – we’ve got lots more where this came from. Our handymen can do all the above services, power washing, TV mounting, interior painting and more. If your chore isn’t listed, simply call and we’ll give you an estimate for the job you’re after.
Not only that, but there’s no need to go hunting for a different specialist for each service you require – book your time slot with Puls and a qualified professional will arrive at your doorstep at the time that’s convenient for you, often on the very same day.
Simply select the services you’re looking for, choose the time that’s right for you, and let your handyman take care of the rest.