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7 Life Hacks That Are Really Just Common Sense Fall Home Maintenance Reminders
If you think fall is just about getting to wear your fancy sweaters, drink pumpkin spice lattes, and grow out your leg hair, I've got a rude awakening for you. Winter is coming. Bears are gorging themselves to prepare to hibernate. Do you think bears are stupid? Well do you?
So make like a bear and get your house ready for the colder months.
Here are 7 tips you can use to batten down the hatches, and pray you survive "the dark months."
Clean Your Gutters
Get your mind out of the gutter and in to cleaning them. Autumn leaves are beautiful, but when they clog up your gutters, they can be deadly. Ever hear of "choking on leaves?" That's what your gutters are doing. Maintaining clean gutters will prevent overflowing water from causing damage to siding, landscaping and even to the foundation of your house.
Using a ladder and a small scoop, remove the guck, starting at the downspout... you know what, just get up there and use some common sense. If you can't figure it out, hire someone.
As cozy as it looks on Christmas cards, your fireplace is still literally an open wild fire inside your home. Before you settle in for a long winter's nap make sure you can enjoy your fireplace as safely as possible. Here are some tips from the Chimney Safety Institute of America (CSIA): (yeah, there really is a "Chimney Safety institute." Thanks Obama)
– Have your chimney checked every year by a non-hobo chimney sweep to ensure both your chimney system and venting systems are working properly and safely.
– Burn only well-seasoned hardwoods because man, those smell great.
– Install a chimney cap to keep out debris and to prevent birds and animals from nesting. (Pro-tip, do not WEAR a chimney cap as a jaunty head decoration, you noob.)
– Inspect and maintain your chimney flashing (the seal between the chimney and the roof). (My motto: inspecting flashers since 1989)
Weather-Proof Your Doors and Windows
A draft-free home will not only help keep the sniffles at bay, and save you money, it's your first line of defense against intruders. Mark this list down and sear it into your memory: weather-stripping. Felt strips, metal-back strips, self-stick foam, and plastic channels.
Your home is your castle and leaky windows and doors are your eternal shame. When it comes to sealing up your home's unsightly crevices caulk is your friend. Just don't go shouting "I've got a craving for some grade-A caulk" in the hardware store. You may get more than you bargained for.
Bundle Up…Your Plumbing
Your poor plumbing might take quite a chill during colder months. To help prevent frozen, burst pipes (and to save energy), wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with electric heat tape, fiberglass insulation, or ready-made pipe jackets. Even better, sit down with your book club and crochet some custom pipe sweaters. A nice chevron pattern is very popular. Seriously. Do it. I dare you.
Tend Your Garden
There are lots of things you can do to get your yard ready for the cold. Start by trimming any dead branches from your trees to prevent them falling during a winter storm. Fall is also a great time to aerate your lawn. Hopefully you remember where any shallow graves might be. Aerating a burial plot is still illegal in nine states.
Check Your Roof
This is the time to make like Tevye and fiddle around on the roof. Replace buckling, curling or cracked shingles. Check the flashing around pipes, chimneys and other penetrations to make sure you don’t have any leaks or gaps. Also, look for excessive shingle granules in your gutters – if your shingles are disintegrating, they are losing valuable weight and insulation, and it might be time to replace your roofing. Forget tradition, just make like a rich man and call the roofing guy if you think there might be an issue.
Check Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detectors
How many times do you need to be told? Do it at daylight savings time. Check it at new years. Look, it's time you shape up and start acting like a responsible adult and get a system for regularly maintaining your detectors. Make sure they are operational and have fresh batteries. If you wait until the smoke alarm starts chirping at 3:45 am you've failed.
Gavin has lived in Boise for over 20 years. In 2003 he got his start in real estate as an investor and since then he has personally bought and sold over 100 houses. He got licensed in 2009 and is now....
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