Fall is definitely here and it's the perfect time to prepare your home for the change in seasons and colder weather that is coming. Here are a few To-Do's to add to your fall checklist that will help you focus on the most important preventative home maintenance tasks that you can do to be sure that your home is safe and ready for winter. A little work on your behalf can save you a lot of money in repairs moving forward.
Check Your Gutters!
After the leaves have fallen around the perimeter of your home, it's time to remove them from your gutters. Your roof's drainage system is designed to divert water away from your home's exterior and foundation walls so erosion and damage doesn't occur to your home and your basement or crawlspace remains dry. That's why it is so important to clean twigs and leaves out to ensure that clogging doesn't occur and keep everything working smoothly. Also, check be sure the gutters are securely fastened and that your downspouts are working properly as well to get the water far away from your foundation. If they are worn or damaged, you may want to replace them to prevent damage to your foundation.
Check your Exterior Drainage System!
Your exterior drainage system can get clogged or blocked and should be monitored. First step would be to make sure you know the location of your exterior drain outlet pipe. Some houses don't have any exterior drainage so you may not have a pipe to locate, but it would be a good idea to verify this. We can help you determine if you have exterior drainage and help locate the outlet pipe, if you have one. Once you have your exterior pipe located, it's always a good idea to monitor the amount of water flow during wet seasons and heavy rain. If there is little or no water flowing out of the pipe, or you notice a strong decrease in water flow, there is likely an issue with the system and it should be inspected. Exterior drain pipes are susceptible to clogging and crushing. If this happens it's urgent to get the system repaired as soon as possible to avoid more costly issues and damage down the road.
Look for Cracks!
Take a walk around your home and look for cracks in all concrete; from sidewalks to floors to uneven concrete driveways. These can become especially hazardous in the winter months but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches in the Spring. Some cracks can be fixed by those that are do-it yourselfers, but if the cracks are larger, you have repaired them already and they open back up, or you have uneven sidewalks or sinking concrete, call the professionals at Midstate for a free analysis...our cost-effective foam jacking process can fix these in less time with minimal effort.
Do you have a damp Crawlspace/Basement?
Up to 65% of the air you breathe in your home comes from your basement or crawlspace; however, the heat escaping your home could also be due to an improperly insulated or damp crawlspace or basement. Encapsulating your crawlspace or waterproofing your basement can help lower heating costs in the winter and discourage moisture in warmer months, as well as, increasing the air quality that you breathe.
Double check that your Sump Pump is working properly!
Snow is coming and the last thing you need to have is issues with your sump pump when it starts to melt. If you find that your sump pump tends to run constantly, has a strange noise or isn't working at all, you're opening your home up to a number of issues that could be easily resolved before they happen. If your sump pump is over 10 years old, the technology has changed and there are better, more efficient and reliable options available along with battery back-up systems that can be installed so you can be worry free when it comes to water entering your home.
Check your Doors and Windows!
Your doors and windows to your home are installed to keep you warm during the colder months. Cracks and deteriorating caulk or weather stripping can allow bugs and drafts to enter your home, which can increase your heating bills. An easy tip to check this: 'Close a door or window on a strip of paper; if the paper slides easily, your weather-stripping isn't doing its job. Or, close the door or window and hold a lit candle near the frame. (Don't let the flame get near anything flammable!) If the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, you have an air leak.' If you notice any major cracks or unevenness around windows/doors, give us a call, it could be a result of a settling foundation and need to be looked at further by a professional.
Look for issues with your Roof!
Heavy snow can make smaller roof issues a complete mess for your home. Same with your gutters, if not cared for properly, the smallest leak can allow water to filter into your home and cause severe damage to your interior. If you see any major problems, be sure to call a roofer to inspect the issue.
Pruning your Plants
This may seem obvious but did you know plants and trees that get overgrown close to your home can start causing significant damage to your foundation? From roots trying to grow into your home to encapsulating moisture, the damage can be extremely costly! Cut branches and trim hedges well away from your home to ensure mother nature doesn't cause any destruction.
If you find any major issue in the process that you would like a professional opinion, contact us at Midstate for a free no obligation, analysis. We have a lot of Do-it-Yourself tips and can help you decide what solutions may fix your issues. If it's not something we specialize in, we are connected with a large network of other professionals that will be able to assist you! 888.99.DRY NY