It’s never too early to start thinking about proper fall maintenance for around the home. Waiting until the temperatures plummet to see if your furnace fires up or gutters need cleaning, makes it challenging to get it fixed right away, and there may be a delay for service as the busy season kicks into full swing. Starting on projects now can prepare you for the cooler months and save you time and money. But what projects can you do yourself and which ones should you hire a pro for? Here are a few things that may be better off leaving to the experts.
Servicing Your HVAC Unit
One of the main things that you rely on within your home—sometimes year round, is your furnace and air conditioning system. Making sure your HVAC system is top notch when it’s really hot and really cold is important for optimal comfort and proper function of other appliances in the home as well. When the weather is mild is often the perfect time to have your unit serviced. While you can check it yourself before the cold weather moves in, a pro can do a complete inspection and check for underlying issues. Some things a HVAC pro may look for during inspection include:
- *Dirty air filters and parts
- *Replacing worn or outdated parts and components
- *Updating switches and control panels that no longer function properly
- *Troubleshooting any mechanical issues with your furnace and air conditioner
This allows for plenty of time to order parts and have them replaced and repairs made before winter starts.
Cleaning Out Air Ducts
In order to have a properly running and functional HVAC system, your air ducts should be cleaned out at least once a year. While you could do this yourself, calling in a an air duct cleaning professional helps remove all of the debris completely and adds a protective barrier that helps sanitize and control future dust mite and dirt buildup issues. Cleaning the air ducts, as well as carpets, also helps combat those in the home who suffer from allergies. It reduces the contaminants that trigger allergic symptoms as well as mold and mildew. This prevents these allergens from being strewn into the air when you fire up your furnace in late fall or winter.
Replacing And Cleaning Gutters
While keeping your house warm when the snow starts to fly is important, so is the structural aspect of your roof and siding. This begins with your gutters. Getting them cleaned is the first step in controlling water buildup and moisture issues in and around your home. Have them cleaned out and then install gutter guards to help make the job easier next fall or spring. If the gutters are falling off or the downspouts are not flowing properly, now is the time to have them replaced—before ice starts to form on the surfaces.
Staying comfortable during the winter goes beyond making mechanical repairs to your home. Weatherproofing is also very important. You can do most weatherproofing yourself with self-install kits that you can buy at major home improvement retailers. Some things to remember include:
- *Caulking all of the areas around your windows and doors
- *Having new energy-efficient doors and windows that seal properly
- *Replacing windows with a high amount of condensation or air flow around the seals
- *Adding foam weather-strips under doors and around drafty areas
- *Installing proper insulation throughout the home and checking for gaps in coverage
Make sure that your insulation is working properly. Blown-in cellulose insulation settles over time. If this occurs, install fresh insulation before winter hits. Make sure that rolled or batt insulation installed in attics and walls is not wet or damaged. Replace worn insulation with high efficiency foam insulation or wall board insulation if necessary. You may have to call a pro for installation on big jobs.
Getting your home prepped for cool temps starts right now. Make a plan and checklist to complete your jobs. Hire the pros to do some or all of the work if it fits within your budget.