Autumn is the ideal season to shine the spotlight on those little things that can make a huge difference for you and your home. Here a six things to check off your maintenance list:
1. Get to your gutters
It’s the job of your roof's drainage system to divert water from your house's exterior, so it’s important that this system is operating smoothly. Clogged up gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water slowly making its way indoors. Clogged gutters are also more prone to rust and corrosion. How do you prevent this? Before the tree leaves start to drop, have your gutters cleaned, and consider having mesh guards installed to keep debris from causing future blockages.
2. Seal drafts
A home with air leaks around windows and doors is an unpleasant place to be. No one loves a draft, right? Gaps here and there also make your home’s heating system work extra hard – costing you more money on your electricity bill. Weather strip is one of the most cost-effective ways to manage your heating costs. This off-the-shelf material also minimises unpleasant drafts and keeps your whole home more comfy at any time of the year. Because weather strip can deteriorate over time, it is important to inspect it periodically, and replace if necessary. While you're at it, also check for missing or damaged sealant around windows, doors, and entry points for electrical points etc. If needed, seal any gaps with a suitable gap-filler. Draft-stoppers for the bottom of doors are also a fabulously useful invention. Check out the range at your local hardware store.
3. Address any roof problems
Few homeowner problems are more frustrating than a leaking roof. Once the dripping starts, finding the exact source is problematic and time consuming. Put a stop to problems this autumn by inspecting the your roof from top to bottom, using a pair of binoculars, if necessary. Check ridges for cracks and wind damage, look for damage to metal flashing in valleys and around vents and chimneys. Look in your gutters for large accumulations of particles, depending on your type of roof, this could be a sign that your roof is losing its coating; expect problems soon. Finally, make sure your gutters are flowing freely. Roof-mounted TV antennas, even if they aren't in use, may have wires or brackets holding them in place. Look for loose or missing components. If your antenna is no longer being used, consider having it removed altogether.
4. Inspect walkways, stairs and driveways
Damaged paths, driveways, and stairs are a hazard all year round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather makes them extra damp and slippery or washes them away. Fix problems such as minor cracks, uneven sections, and loose railings on steps. And, patch washed-away materials on loose-fill paths. Blast mossy build up on solid paths or stepping stones with a high-pressure hose so it doesn’t worsen over coming months.
5. Check your heating
Once a year, it's a sensible idea to have your home’s heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early autumn, before the heating season cranks up! Unusual noises, hums or groans, poor performance and erratic behaviour are all signs that your heating system may need professional attention.
6. Focus on your fireplace
If you have an open-style fireplace, you should check it for damage and potential hazards when the weather starts to cool. Use a torch to check the flue for blockages, and to assess the chimney. Inspect brick chimneys for loose or broken joints and make minor repairs, if necessary. For wood-burning stoves, inspect the stovepipe, look for corrosion or cracks and make sure you have an appropriate safety fence to prevent people from coming into contact with the hot zone, especially children.