I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but Summer has officially slipped away, and Fall is now upon us! But, before you sit back with your apple cider and pumpkin spiced donuts, you need to perform a proper maintenance check to prep your Old House for the wicked winter weather that is on the way! Time IS running out, so we’ll cover the importance of Fall preventive maintenance in and around your house. Let’s get to work!
First of all, Fall preventive maintenance checks are much like an abbreviated “whole house” inspection (at time of purchase), previously covered HERE.
Fall Preventive Maintenance
So What If I’m Not Handy Around the House?
- First of all, that’s OK! Home inspections aren’t just reserved for real estate transactions. If you aren’t handy around the house, and you’re wondering if your home may need a little TLC to keep it in tip-top shape, by all means, hire a home inspector. Because they can come evaluate your house, give you a detailed to-do list, and they will even perform a follow-up inspection to ensure the work was executed correctly, and to code.
- Finally, find out more from US Inspect HERE and check out the previous blog on this topic.
What Is It?
So what is preventive maintenance? According to Grainger
Preventative maintenance is defined as regularly scheduled inspections, tests, servicing, replacements, repairs and other tasks intended to help reduce the impact and frequency of equipment failures. This includes scheduled preventative maintenance, predictive maintenance and inspection activities.
The objective of preventive maintenance is to repair or replace a component (caulk, grout, siding, shingles, etc) or system (plumbing, heating, cooling, electrical, etc) BEFORE it fails or experiences unexpected downtime.
Furthermore, whether its your house, car, or lawnmower, preventive maintenance is key to extending service life, and reducing life cycle costs, repair, and premature replacement.
For that reason, it is much easier to maintain exterior caulk and paint, rather that ignore it for years and now the siding, framing, and structure are now rotten and compromised. As a result, you would now face a major repair bill.
Likewise, if you ever plan to sell, it is much easier/cheaper to keep a house maintained along the way, than to have a long laundry list that now needs to be completed quickly, and at a great expense! Because this could delay or prevent the sale once the home inspector shows up and documents years of neglect.
So, given this info, lets formulate a plan to have a proactive approach when it comes to Fall Preventive Maintenance! For this, we’ll need to draft a specific checklist, broken down into smaller tasks, and always by season!
Fall Preventive Maintenance Checklist
Your Fall Preventive Maintenance Guide
My Old House”Fix” has one completed just for you! CLICK HERE to download and print your own PDF copy to use for your spring inspection.
1) Fall Preventive Maintenance
- Roof – Check all openings, louvers, and vents for bird, squirrel, and insect nests and access. Finally, address any issues immediately, before winter…and your new guests settle in!
- Fireplace (wood burning) – The firebox, chimney, brick, and mortar should be inspected annually for condition and to ensure safety (to include fire prevention). Additionally, have the chimney flue “swept” annually to remove flammable creosote.
- This Old House – 7 Clean Sweeps for Fireplaces
- This Old house – Removing Creosote from a Chimney Flue
- Walls, steps, sidewalk, patio, garage/basement floors- Inspect all hardscapes, concrete, and pavers for damage, cracks, heaving, and crumbling. Above all, these could be initial indicators of structural failure.
- Gutters and Downspouts – Inspect for damage and keep leaves cleaned/removed throughout the Fall. Additionally, keep gutters and downspouts clear, so water from Fall rains and the melting snow to follow, will drain properly.
- Foundation and Window Wells – Inspect the foundation and window well areas. Also, clean debris and leaves away, to ensure water will properly drain away from the foundation and window wells.
- Doors and Windows – Check the condition of all the window seals, weatherstripping, and glazing putty. Repair as needed to prepare for winter months. As a result, a proper seal will reduce cold air infiltration and drafts.
- Windows and Doors – Check the condition of exterior caulk around all doors, door stop trim, windows, corner boards, and trim. Repair as needed. If too cold to “touch up ” paint, defer until the next Spring/Summer maintenance.
- Septic Tank – It is recommended to have your septic tank drained and cleaned every 2 years. So, check with a local, reputable company.
- Windows and Storms – Check condition of paint and wood, check all mounting hardware and function (latches, hinges, ropes, weights, etc. Finally, swap screens for storms once the weather turns cool.
- Outdoor Furniture – To prep for winter cover, store away all outdoor and patio furniture (hammock, chairs, cushions, swings, etc). Most noteworthy, storage in basements, garages, and utility buildings will help extend the life of your outdoor items.
- Plumbing – Drain, insulate, wrap, and prepare all exterior, exposed plumbing and pipes for winter. This includes hoses, bibs, faucets, sprinklers, pool equipment, etc.
2) Fall Preventive Maintenance
- Attic Check – Check the overall condition of your attic. Check for signs of water leaks, mold, chimney brick and mortar, condition of insulation, and signs of animals nesting or gaining access to the inside.
- A/C Service (attic and/or basement) – A single system could be in attic or basement. A split system could be in both. Perform a quick visual check of the drip pan, condensation drain/trap – and make sure all the water is removed from the trap after the last A/C use of the season. Certainly, you don’t want this water to freeze the pipe in winter.
- Interior Winter Air Sealing (temporary) – If your windows aren’t in the best shape and are a bit drafty, here is a plan to get you by in the short term. Temporarily seal them for the winter.
- Additionally, you can cover your cold air returns (for A/C only) to keep cold air and drafts out.
- See our Air Sealing and Insulation tech blog.
- ERV Service (every 6 months) – Make sure ducts are secure, service and clean/change pre-filter, dust filter, and HEPA filter (if applicable) per manufactures instructions. See previous blog on ERV maintenance and service HERE.
- Heating Equipment – Service your oil-burning boiler and equipment annually. Likewise, have your natural gas heating equipment services every 2 years (or per manufacturer recommendations).
- Finally, flush your hot water heater annually to remove harmful minerals and deposits.
Interior Plumbing – Check all sinks, tubs, plumbing pipes, fixtures, and valves for leaks and proper operation. Perform drain maintenance and cleaning every 6 month to keep drains from turning smelly and running/draining like new. See previous blog on plumbing and drain maintenance.
- Whole House Water Filters (every 6mo) – Change filters and clean filter canisters every 6 months or as directed in owners manual/per manufacturers instructions. Finally, your filter replacement will vary by location and quality of water (sediment, hardness, etc).
- Refrigerator Check (every 6 mo) – Clean condenser coils (located in front or rear), drip pan, and drain per the owners manual. Check all door seals for proper seal (use the dollar bill trick), and change the integrated water filter. A dirty water filter can make for even dirtier drinking water.
The Best Deal On EVERYDROP Replacement Filters – Colpure. Does your refrigerator use the Whirpool “Filter 2”, Every Drop filter (EDR2RXD1 / W10413645A)? Don’t pay $45+. They are now available in a 3-pack, from Colpure, for $14 each!!!
- Dishwasher Check – Clean monthly (and/or per manufacturers instructions). Check for leaks at water supply and drain connections, and ensure proper drainage. Finally, be sure to clean the internal removable filter (if equipped), and on a weekly basis.
- Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors – Replace the batteries every year. 1) battery operated and 2) hard-wired electric with battery backup. Test to make sure they are working properly, per manufacturers specifications and owners manual.
3) Fall Preventive Maintenance
- Yard / Grass – From mid to late Fall rake, compost, and mulch your Fall leaves. Additionally, perform your Fall grass fertilization, if on a routine 4 -step program.
Finally, read HERE for more on Old House Preventive Maintenance.
Above all, I hope this information helps to promote a proactive approach for you this spring in regards to performing Fall Preventive Maintenance on your home. Any questions/comments? Hit me up in the comments section. Thanks!
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