Love it or hate it, autumn is almost here. This year, Thursday 22 September is the first day of autumn. With the cosy sweaters, cups of tea and nights by the fire on the way, we’ve created a checklist to make sure your house is ready for the cool darker nights.
- Seal the Gaps
Keep the crawlies out and the heat in. Mice and spiders, oh my! Autumn is the season for these little critters to find their way into your home. Fill any small holes and cover large gaps with hardware cloth to keep them away.Besides allowing the crawlies in, gaps in sealant and weatherstripping can account for 10% of heating bills, according to the US Department of Energy. Inspect your weatherstripping and check for missing or damaged sealant around windows, doors and energy points.
- Clean the Gutters
Once most of the leaves in your garden have fallen, clean your gutters. Your gutters divert thousands of gallons of water every year. Clogged gutters can cause water pooling which damages your roof. If you don’t mind heights and getting messy, you can complete this job yourself. Otherwise, we recommend you hire someone to help clean your gutters.
- Warm Up Your Rooms
You can light the fire or turn up the heat but you can also add layers to warm up a room. Remember that old “wear light layers” advice? It applies to your home as well. Add rugs to the floor and pillows and blankets to the sofa for added warmth.
- Furnace Check Up
The last thing you need is your heating breaking down in the middle of a cold night. Once a year, you should have your heating system inspected by a professional. If you notice noisy belts, poor performance or erratic behaviour, you should opt for an inspection sooner.
Every home owner dreads a leaky roof. There are a couple things you can have a look out for. Over time shingles can crack or be wind damaged. Scan the entire roof for missing or damaged shingles. Look for damage to the metal flashing around vents and chimneys. If there is an accumulation of granules in your gutters, it may be a sign your roof is losing its coating.If you notice anything, be sure to contact a roofing professional.
Autumn is a good time to complete all your safety checks.Fire and Carbon Monoxide Detectors: we recommend testing these weekly. Be sure to replace the batteries as necessary. Check out our blog about where to install carbon monoxide detectors.
Fire Extinguishers: make sure you have fire extinguishers on each floor of your home and in the kitchen. Check the date on your fire extinguishers to make sure they are properly working.Escape Plan and Storage: does your family have an escape plan with a meet up point in case of emergency? Make sure every member of the household has this memorised. In the digital age, keeping important documents safe is easier than before. Save paperwork to the cloud or a memory stick and store it with family or a safety deposit box.
Before the ground freezes and snow falls, cut the gardens and rake up any leaves. If there is any snow fall, leaves underneath can become slippery and prevent spring growth.
- Stove Inspection
Check your fuel burning stove for signs of damage and wear. Clean stovepipes and inspect for damage. Cracks, corrosion, holes, or loose joints in stovepipes can release poisonous carbon monoxide into your home. Besides stovepipes, inspect the stove’s body and legs for cracks or rust.If you notice any issues, contact the store where you purchased your stove.
- Chimney Check-Up
A warm fire is one of the best things about the cooler weather. Maintaining a chimney is not difficult but it is important because the consequences can be deadly. Regular cleaning and inspections by professionals will keep your family safe and warm. Your chimney should be cleaned at least once a year and up to quarterly depending on the fuel burned.Creosote: is a flammable by-product of burning wood, overtime it builds up in your flue. Having your chimney swept will remove creosote and prevent flue blockages.Nesting: birds tend to nest in an unprotected flue which can cause a flue blockage. Installing a chimney cowl and regular sweeping will prevent blockages from birds’ nests.Damper: is the metal plate that opens and closes the flue, ensure this opens and closes adequately. Your chimney sweep will test this during your sweep.Chimney: inspect your chimney for missing or cracked bricks or flashing and if it is leaning. If your chimney is leaning, be sure to contact a chimney repairs professional immediately to prevent further damage to your own or a neighbour’s property.
Any chimney problems should be addressed by a professional. Check out our more thorough guide to diagnosing chimney problems yourself.