Summer is the time for camping, festivals and holidays but summer should also be the time to make sure your home is ready for the winter months ahead. Your home is one of your largest investments and it's important to make sure there are no major unforeseen issues, especially in the cold west coast winter. Many unexpected issues can come out during the sometimes harsh and stormy weather that winter brings.
The summer months are the perfect time to take some time and do an in depth look at your home inside and out to get ahead of the problems and plan for those fixes if needed. Here is a list of items to specifically look for and make sure are addressed.
1. Check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: These early warning detectors may one day save your life and its important they are in peak working order. Check the batteries and do a test to make sure they are active.
2. Check your faucets/pipes: Depending on where you live, your pipes may be prone to freezing during the winter months. Water expands when frozen by approximately 9% which may cause your pipes to expand or experience pressure or stress, making pipes brittle and prone to cracks. If you notice your water pressure decreasing, its a sure bet there is a leak somewhere. Leaks are never good as sometimes they can be hidden behind walls or near your foundation. Undetected leaks can cause all sorts of mayhem such as mold, asbestos, foundation cracks, and water damage to walls and framing. Catching these leaks early can prevent you from having major structural issues.
3. Clean out bathroom vents: Remove vent cover and vacuum any dust or dirt that may be starting to clog the vent. This will allow your fan to run more efficiently and you'll see less moisture buildup in the bathroom
4. Unclog those bathroom drains: Use a drain stick to unclog any hair and use bleach to kill any mold or mildew looming in the drains- follow up and flush the pipes with hot water after 10 minutes
5. Refrigerator Coils: The refrigerator coils at the back of your fridge could easily lead to paying more electricity if they're not cleaned regularly. If they aren't maintained, it simply takes more energy for the refrigerator to maintain its cold temperature. Simply turn off your fridge, move it forward and vacuum any accumulating dust or dirt on the coils.
6. Furnace/Air Conditioner Filters: Since furnaces are generally not in use during the summer months, this makes it the perfect time to check and clean or replace the furnace filter. Filters are normally kept in the blower compartment and should be replaced every few months depending on if you have animals in the home and the amount of usage. Not checking or replacing can lead to a lot of air contaminants and particles building up, which can lead to allergies or congestion as well as higher bills as the Furnace or Air Conditioner will have to work harder to reach the set temperature.
7. Crawl Spaces: It is a great idea to check your crawl spaces every once in a while- they may be a bit creepy to go in to or look inside but is a great insight to what is happening inside your home. Grab a flashlight and if you notice any mold, rot or buckled flooring is a sure sign of a potentially larger issue that will need to be addressed. You should also look for signs of moisture, condensation, insect or animal presence, and small holes as these could also be precursors.
8. Washing Exteriors: Always a daunting task, washing the exteriors of your house is a great way to inspect the outside of your house. Depending on your siding, giving it a good pressure wash will get off all the dirt and will give you good eye detail into any potential holes near the roof (evidence of insects or birds), any cracks in foundation or basement walls, any separation near the windows, exterior siding cracks, etc. If you don't feel safe doing the higher parts of your house, make sure to hire a professional to clean and inspect.
9. Wash Windows: Another daunting task is window washing. If you are having trouble seeing through your windows from the inside, then its time to buckle down with some elbow grease and make them shine. Using Windex can sometimes act as a static for dust/pollen so we have found using a tiny bit of soap/soft sponge and a squeegee is the best method :)
10. Roof: Adverse weather year round can play havoc on your shingles and roof- doing a thorough check to make sure there is no rot forming or by sealing/replacing individual shingles now will save you a headache later. Make sure gutters are clear of debris and leaves as well. Clogged gutters can form pooling spots near your house or on the corners of your roof. Always remember a safety harness when up on a roof or if unable, call a reliable contractor/roofer to investigate.
11. Trees: Always be mindful of any large trees or shrubs that are growing near your house. With wintery weather comes wind and rain storms and branches have been known to lean and scratch houses, branches can break off and breaks decks/windows and trees can uproot and damage an entire house. Being aware of trees not standing upright, or trees that look discolored or unhealthy as they may need to be removed.