By Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group
Congratulations--you're a new homeowner!
Now that the movers have left, and you are officially a homeowner, instead of calling your landlord when the furnace goes on the fritz, or the roof leaks, guess who gets to fix it? That's right--you do. Chances are pretty good that little detail got pushed aside in all your excitement over moving to a new house and new stuff (which hopefully included a leaf blower), but now that fall is just around the corner, it's time to get your new house ready for cooler weather. There's no reason to panic, just follow these handy hacks and you'll be ready for chestnuts roasting on an open fire in no time.
As much as you love having AC in the summer, if it goes out for a couple of days you can survive. When your furnace has a winter break, especially if it's in the middle of a "weather event", your actual survival could be at stake.
Checking your furnace tops the to-do list. If you're a smart home buyer, and you are, then you had the HVAC inspected before you closed on the house. You should have confidence that the mechanics are in good working order, but you should do these simple tasks at least every year.
- Replace filters--you should replace your filters every three months, unless you have a permanent one. In that case, remove it and clean it on the same schedule.
- Check that the vents are open and remove any debris from the unit--a leaf blower does a pretty good job.
- Switch to smart thermostat--they save lots of energy since they're programmed to automatically reset during the day.
Safety first--before you get on the roof, make sure you have the right ladder and a wingman to hold the ladder and catch you if you fall--or at least call 911. If not, hire a roofer to come clear the debris and clean the gutters.
If you're confident you can get up there and back safely, here's what you do.
- Remove any tree branches other debris that might be up there.
- Clean the gutters. Clogged gutters cause more roof damage than the snow, wind, and rain--if the water can't flow cleanly through, pooling water causes leaks. Pooling water that freezes seeps into roof shingles and will help your roof leak sooner. The leaf blower is pretty good for gutter cleaning, too. Investing in a clog-free gutter system is a good idea if you have a wooded lot.
Doors and Windows
If your home has newer, energy-efficient doors and windows, clean the debris from the frames and check that the weather-stripping is neat and tidy. This is a good project for a windy day--it's easier to tell if there are gaps when you can feel the breeze. If the weather-stripping is degrading, replace it--it's inexpensive and available in several colors from home improvement stores.
If you've got older windows with screens, remove the screens and replace them with storm windows. The storms are heavier glass that help retain heat.
Again, since you've only recently bought the house, the chimney for a wood burning fireplace should be in good working order. It's still a good idea to check for any debris that's fallen in, as well as small animals that have decided to nest there. You don't want your first roaring fire to be enhanced with eau de squirrel.
How you treat your outdoor living spaces depends greatly on where you live. In some parts of the country, you can use your yard year 'round; in others you need to start buttoning up by early Fall. If harsh weather is the norm, cover your furniture or bring it inside to the garage or basement, and cover grills, too. Plastic toys (playhouses, sandboxes) need shelter, so cover those as well--it's nice to keep those outside for sunny days when the kiddies need to get outside.
Congratulations on being a home owner, and if you don't already have a leaf blower, go get one. It's the handiest tool imaginable for home maintenance.
And, if you are looking to become a new homeowner and need help moving, give A-1 Freeman Moving Group a call!!
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