With days around the pool and at the beach soon to become distant memories, school buses on the roads and this year’s corn crop turning brown, it’s time for Salisbury MD area homeowners to ready their homes for the cold months ahead. Our top to bottom 5 Point Fall Maintenance Checklist will help you protect your investment, ensure your family’s safety and save some of your hard earned dollars.
- If yours is a wood burning fireplace, have a chimney sweep clean the flue and check for any safety hazards before the season. Roughly a third of all house fires start in the chimney area. Birds frequently nest in chimneys and flues during spring and summer as well, leaving an unpleasant mess behind. Installing a screened cap can prevent this next year.
- Have a chimney sweep or masonry contractor look for loose bricks and point up as necessary. Precipitation penetrating mortar joints can begin a freeze/thaw cycle that will further the issue. Falling bricks can damage shingles and underlayment or worse yet hit a loved one standing below.
- Gas logs should be inspected and cleaned before the season’s first use. An air compressor works well to blow off dust and debris. It’s a good idea to start your logs for the fall season on a warm day with the windows open, as they can release a strong odor as any remaining residue burns off. With the use of any gas appliance always have a carbon monoxide detector plugged in and make sure the batteries are fresh in case of a power outage. This is also a good time to change batteries in your smoke detectors.
Fall and winter usually produce the worst nor’easters on the Delmarva Peninsula, so you’ll want to ensure your roof is in good condition.
- Check for missing or broken shingles and replace.
- Any nails popping through should be addressed.
- Tar joints and flashing should be looked over for potential water penetration.
- Rubber gaskets on plumbing boots degrade over time and should be checked.
- This is an excellent time to clean your gutters. The winter of 2009 was extreme (I remember using four wheel drive and slogging through over a foot of snow showing homes) Many Salisbury MD area home owners experienced ice dams for the first time, causing expensive repairs from water damage. Clean gutters could have prevented some of these insurance claims. If your lot is wooded, clean them again after leaf drop in November.
Window and Doors
- Look for any cracks or gaps in window and door trim both inside and out. Drafty windows and doors are a primary culprit of heat loss in a home, driving up utility costs for the home owner.
- Replace any missing or damaged weather stripping.
- Remove window screens and place in storage once cold weather sets in, reducing the possibility of damage during severe weather. Benefits include increased natural light, thereby brightening your home and saving on heating bills. Removing window screens is always a good idea when selling your home, no matter the time of year.
Most HVAC contractors recommend homeowners have their units serviced in both fall and spring, prior to heavy use.
- Call your contractor early in the season, before they get backlogged with calls for emergency service. Having no heat on the coldest of days is not only inconvenient, it seems to happen on holidays and weekends, costing the homeowner some serious dough in service charges.
- Change or clean your filters at this time so your unit is working at peak efficiency.
- Close foundation vents to prevent pipes from freezing and look for gaps in and around the foundation. Non expanding foam will seal them against cold air penetration and pests as well.
- Any fallen insulation should be put back up with wire hangers.
- Inspect your vapor barrier and replace as needed. Since some of the heaviest precipitation comes to the Salisbury MD area during fall and winter, thats when many crawlspaces get excessive moisture. Closed vents and less evaporation can compound the problem, laying the groundwork for rot and mold problems when the weather warms in the spring. A new application of 6mil plastic in your crawlspace will go a long way in alleviating this.
- For persisting problems with crawlspace moisture, re-grading around the foundation and installing downspout extensions can be a big help. It’s also another benefit of having clean gutters.
Having simple checklist such as this can help you get organized and minimize unforeseen headaches. As always, feel free to contact us for recommendations on reliable contractors to help you maintain your Salisbury MD home.