Check and clean gutters, panels, and fascia year-round to prevent debris from building up. Failure to do so could cause leaks, rot and other costly damage, says Benjamin Martin, home inspector and president and chief inspector of Florida Certified Home Inspections. If your property has any trees, have a certified arborist inspect them, who can check for signs of disease or dead branches and detect problems before they worsen and kill a tree. The untrained eye could miss signs of damage, and a dead or dying tree poses a danger to your safety, home, and neighboring properties.
Even if you don't use the chimney regularly, the chimney still needs regular monitoring. A chimney transports hazardous gases from the fireplace, wood stove, or oven out of your home, helping to keep indoor air breathable. According to the Chimney Safety Institute of America, your chimney should be inspected annually and cleaned regularly based on how often you use it. Once the leaves fall, call your gutter company to clean and inspect them.
Any repairs that need to be done to gutters or downspouts must be done before winter arrives. Your workers should also inspect the roof for loose or broken shingles. Schedule work before heavy snow falls, which could leave frozen leaves and debris in gutters, faucets, and hoses. Before the first freeze, drain and turn off the outside faucets so they don't freeze.
Roll up the hoses and store them for the winter. Have your oven and ducts serviced. A clean system will be more energy efficient and an inspection will alert you to problems. Check and replace air filters, as needed.
Test the thermostat to make sure it is working properly. Make sure the heater vents are open and that nothing blocks them. If you didn't clean and inspect your chimney in the spring, call a chimney sweep now and do it before you start using your chimney or oven. Clothes dryers cause 2,900 fires a year, and many fires occur in the fall and winter, according to the U.S.
Fire Administration. Lint is a major cause, so you should have your dryer vent inspected and cleaned annually by an HVAC specialist who specializes in dryer vents or ducts. You should change the rotation of ceiling fans twice a year to increase energy efficiency and reduce the load on your heating and cooling systems. Running a ceiling fan properly in winter can help you save up to 10% on your heating bill.
When you change the direction of the fan, you change the way the air moves, heating or cooling a room more effectively. If your home has a basement sump pump, you should test it twice a year. Sump pumps typically last about 10 years and, with proper maintenance, could work even longer. When it's hot, take the time to do a thorough inspection of your home's exterior foundations.
Cracks in your home's foundations can reduce their value by up to 15%, and dealing with these problems as you see them will ensure less costly repairs in the future. Large cracks in foundations should be inspected and addressed by a structural engineer.