With autumn comes cooler weather and the need to do home maintenance if you want to be safe and warm this winter. Here are a few items to put on your list.
Have your furnace inspected. Ideally, you should have your furnace serviced and cleaned before you need to fire it up for the first time each fall. This keeps your heating costs down and the air in your home clean and healthy. If you just moved into a new living space and your heater seems faulty, may I suggest making sure the propane tank is full and the valve to the house is open, or that access to your natural gas/diesel is turned on. I can’t tell you the number of times we receive calls at the office from irate homebuyers or new renters because the heater doesn’t work when in fact, they didn’t turn the gas on.
If you have a fireplace, be sure to have it cleaned and inspected. Although there are do-it-yourself kits to clean your chimney, I hire a professional. Having had two of them, I can tell you a chimney fire is a miserable experience.
If you plan to paint, do it now. A fresh coat of paint can do wonders for a home. If your walls need a little sprucing up, I recommend painting while you can open the windows and air out the house so you’re not stuck smelling paint fumes.
Have your roof inspected. Contact your Realtor for a referral to a roofing contractor, especially if you have cracked or missing roof shingles or moss and lichen on your roof. Even if your roof does not appear to need any maintenance, it’s a good idea to check the interior of your home after the first hard rain—do you see any wet spots on the ceilings? Did you check your closets? The best time to catch a leak is when it starts, not after it causes significant damage.
Inspect your gutters. If you have clogged gutters and/or downspouts, water will find the path of least resistance and that can cause trouble for homeowners. Best-case scenario, the water does not cause property damage, but simply wakes you up in the middle of the night as a stream of water continually hits an empty metal container directly outside your bedroom window. If you use a ladder or plan to go on the roof to inspect the gutters, be sure to use the buddy system. While your companion may not be able to prevent your fall, he or she can certainly dial 911 to request an ambulance.
Check for mold and fungus-damaged wood. Examine areas around leaky pipes or those that don’t get good ventilation. If you find any mold, hire a professional to remove it immediately. If you have a sump pump, be sure it is in good working order and that the space under your house is dry so no mold or fungus develops.
Replace weather stripping around doors. Swing by Friedman’s or Mendo Mill for do-it-yourself weather stripping supplies. This quick, easy process can help keep energy bills down.
Replace your air filter. This should be done at least every few months. Clean filters make for better indoor air quality and lower operating costs for your heater (or air conditioner).
Add attic insulation. Adding insulation to the attic is probably one of the most cost-effective ways to improve energy efficiency in your home. I’m willing to bet you’ll make back the money of adding insulation with the energy savings you’ll get in one year.
Replace batteries for smoke and carbon monoxide alarms. This can save your life; it can also save your nerves from the piercing beep indicating a low battery that invariably occurs between 3:00 – 4:00 AM.
If you have questions about real estate or property management, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.realtyworldselzer.com. If I use your suggestion in a column, I’ll send you a $5.00 gift card to Schat’s Bakery. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.