Fall Maintenance Checklist

It seems that Labor Day comes faster every year and we’re asking, “where did the summer go?” Labor Day is not only a signal that summer is coming to a close, it’s also a chance to get a jump start on the fall maintenance that prepares your home for winter. That’s right, whether it’s Labor Day or Halloween (or any time after that), it’s important to seize the day and get your home ready for the Wisconsin winter weather that will hit your home.

Fall maintenance is a chance to weather proof parts of your home, and to inspect and make sure that vital parts of your home are going to make it through winter storms and precipitation. Take your windows, for example. You don’t want to find out in the middle of winter that you have a leak from rotted wood. That’s when a few hours (or days depending on the size of your home) of preventative fall maintenance can save you a lot of headaches when our cold Wisconsin weather hits:
• Check your windows and doors. Do a check up on your windows and doors for wear and tear. Fill in holes around windows and doors with caulk. Drafty windows are inefficient and expensive, costing you additional money for heating and cooling your home. Sometimes, old, drafty windows are obvious, such as when the seal breaks and the inside of the windows are covered in mold, but often the signs are not quite as noticeable. A simple way to test for draftiness is to hold a flame in front of the window. If the flame flickers, it’s time to replace that window. If your window seal is broken, or you question their efficiency, contact a contractor about window replacement.

• Add insulation to your attic. Do you have enough insulation in your attic? If not, climb into your attic yourself, or hire a contractor to add insulation where your home needs it most. With an estimated 35 percent of energy loss occurring through your home’s roof, an extra layer of insulation in your attic is the key to an energy efficient home this winter.

• Have your chimney inspected. Contact chimney professionals to schedule an inspection so you can prevent carbon monoxide build up or a fire.

• Pressure wash your siding. Don’t be the ugly house on the block covered in mold and mildew. Hire a professional to clean your house before it’s too cold to run that pressure washer.

• Have your furnace checked now before it has to work hard. Hire an HVAC technician to do annual maintenance and make sure it’s in top shape. An annual HVAC check up can save you money as well, because heaters not running efficiently run more, costing you more on your utility bills. Don’t forget to also change your furnace filter so it doesn’t become clogged when you turn it on. Once the furnace is on, make sure you change your furnace filter every month during the winter.

• Check your roof for loose or damaged shingles. Summer storms and high winds can wreak havoc on your shingles. If you only have a few damaged shingles, contact a handyman to fix the problem for far less money.

• Test your smoke detectors. Keep your family safe. Test your smoke detectors and practice evacuating your home. Change any detectors with low batteries.

If you don’t have time for fall maintenance or are physically can’t take on fall maintenance tasks, contact a contractor for a quote and availability. They’ll get you home ready for the cold temperatures, saving you the hassle, vacation time and lost productivity that comes with fall maintenance.

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