Thursday, September 18, 2008

Fall Maintenance Tips

If you've ever seen a movie or documentary about ships you know that a ship is home to sometimes thousands of sailors. You will often see sailors swabbing the decks, painting or fixing engine parts as part of their daily routine. These small jobs are part of the preventative maintenance schedule for the vessel and, joined with the hundreds of other chores, keeps it operating at peak capacity.

Your home and the ship share similar qualities. Both are the sum total of many working parts that have to be coordinated in order for them to run smoothly. Any lapses in the maintenance process will result in either instant failures or premature wear. The best way to assure that there are no unpleasant surprises, or that the home is always looking great, is to have a maintenance schedule. This is a four-season set of checks that will ensure everything is running right and that no deterioration has set into any part of the home. It is always best to catch problems when they are “potential” problems.

The hardest time on a home for most Americans is the winter. The extremes in temperature and prolonged periods of sub-freezing weather take a toll on many parts of the home. However, a thorough check in the fall may prevent an emergency like a pipe freeze-up.

Fall Maintenance a Must
Here are some tips for what should be checked by either yourself or a professional:
Heating and Air Conditioning
Oil furnace: This should be done every year by a qualified technician. This includes cleaning and adjusting burners and changing filters.
Gas Furnace : A qualified technician should inspect this every 2 years.
Hot water heating : Lubricate pump parts, check zone valves, bleed air from radiators.
Forced air heating : Clean dirt build-up, check fan belt for wear, lubricate motor, change air filters, vacuum out plenum.
Clean duct grills on force air systems and vacuum radiators on hot water heating and electric baseboard heaters.
Windows and Doors
Put up the storm windows and take off screens from casement for air flow to the

window to prevent condensation.
Check outside doors and casement windows to see they shut tightly and that the weather-stripping is alright.
Check skylights and smaller windows for weather sealing.
Protect the outside of the air conditioning unit with a cover.
Roof, Chimney and Gutters
Clear any obstacles that can divert water to the basement
Clean leaves from gutter and downspouts after leaves have gone from the trees
Check chimney for an obstructions like a bird or wasp nest
Get a professional chimney cleaner for a wood burning
fireplace or oil furnace.
Check shingles on the
roof to see that they are all in place.
Yard and Clean Up
Clean debris from the yard to avoid mishaps when the ground freezes
Drain and store garden hoses
Drain garden pond (if required)
Drain swimming pool (if required)
Cover shrubs with burlap and tie to prevent limbs from breaking in the snow
Store garden tools and utensils
Drain the gas from the lawn mower and run the mower until the motor quits. This will get rid of the excess gas in the carburetor and prevent gumming up over the winter
Seal driveway and sidewalk cracks

No comments: