16
Sep

Fall Home Maintenance: 4 Important Steps to Protect Your Home

Here in the Greater Philadelphia area, our winters can be very damaging because of the frequent temperature fluctuations and the snow, rain, and sleet that we often experience. To keep your house in good condition and prevent big, expensive repairs, you should perform some basic autumn maintenance.

Gutters

Remove debris from your gutters. You may have to do this more than once if you live in an area where trees are dropping their leaves. Clean the gutters along the roofline, then ensure there is no blockage of the drain pipes and downspouts and no obstructions preventing the water from flowing out of the drains at the base. 

Straighten any bent gutters so that rain, freezing rain, and melting snow are directed into the drain pipes and not down over the gutters onto the ground below or creating a line of icicles along your roof. This creates a hazardous situation, both for your landscaping plants below and for any people who could be injured by falling snow or icicles. Water flowing over your gutters can cause icy conditions for people to slip and fall. Besides possibly causing serious bodily harm, it could open you up to lawsuits. 

If you cannot properly clean or straighten your gutters yourself, or if during inspection and cleaning you discover gutters or drain pipes that are broken, rusting, or leaking, call us at M&K for a free inspection and recommendations for repairs. 

Chimneys/furnace/radiators/woodstove

Keep your home warm and safe from fire hazards with proper maintenance of your heating systems. Schedule a furnace tune-up, or at least change your filter. Schedule an inspection of ducts by an HVAC professional, if you have not done so in the last few years. 

Vacuum dust and debris from around baseboard heaters and radiators. Many older houses in Southeast PA and surrounding areas have hot water or steam radiators. You will want to bleed hot water radiators of air pockets to ensure optimal heat production. Likewise, air vents in steam radiators should be checked and cleaned. If you are unsure about how to properly maintain older radiators, consult a professional. 

Check that woodstoves and chimney flues and linings are clear of creosote and soot buildup that can ignite and cause a chimney fire. If there is more than 1/8 inch buildup in your chimney, call a chimney sweep.

Finally, check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors to make sure they’re working properly. A good rule of thumb is to change the batteries when we turn our clocks forward or back, during the spring and fall time changes. 

Windows & Doors

Though your doors open and close throughout the winter, allowing cold air in and warm air out, there are only a few doors in your home. There are many times as many windows, which could be leaking your expensive heating out into the cold world. And since nature abhors a vacuum, cold air comes in to replace it. Check window seals, which can crack and shrink over time. Caulking and weather-stripping can shrink away from the windows and doors, breaking the seal and allowing for the flow of air. If you hear whistling when the wind blows, it’s a sure sign your hard-earned money is blowing out the window. 

Call us for a free inspection and the most cost-effective suggestions to keep your windows and doors air-tight. 

Roof

It’s a good idea to keep an eye on your roof throughout the year, but autumn is probably the most ideal time to inspect it, so you can be confident that your roof will sustain the onslaught of winter weather. 

First, step back and take a look at your roof. Look for any signs of waviness or wear and tear of shingles, flashing, chimneys, and vents. A pair of binoculars can really help you get a close-up look at anything that seems suspicious. Walk around the house and inspect each part of the roof. 

Next, check your attic on a sunny day. Don’t turn the attic light on, just look closely at the roof from the underside and look for any light shining through. Then use a flashlight to closely examine the roof’s underside, wood beams, and insulation to determine if there are any signs of moisture leaks. If your attic is finished, this might not be possible, so check for signs of leaks along the ceilings or walls in the attic and in all the ceilings or walls in your house. Surprisingly, sometimes water damage in a downstairs room is actually caused by a roof issue that found a path downstairs. 

If you have any concerns, or if you are unable to make a good inspection yourself, contact us at M&K Renovations. Our experts will inspect your roof, gutters, windows, and more. After our free inspection, we will give you our honest assessment, with suggestions of what you can do yourself if possible and what we can do for you to keep your house warm, safe, and secure. Call us today at (610) 353-2895.

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