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Blog Home Maintenance Preparing For Winter: Inexpensive Fall Home Projects
Preparing For Winter: Inexpensive Fall Home Projects
Home Maintenance
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Fall is the perfect time to winterize your home. Though San Diego certainly does not experience the harsh winters that many other parts of the Country do, there are still several projects that should be completed in preparing for the cooler months of the year. Many of these cost very little, while others cost nothing aside from some of your time.
  1. man cleaning gutters n san diego houseCleaning Gutters - Keeping your gutters clean is one of the easiest ways to prevent foundation damage. Debris can easily be removed by hand. Once all debris has been removed, the gutters can be washed out using a hose and sprayer. When rinsing gutters pay special attention to how the water drains out of the downspout. Water should always exit away from the home and not drain back towards the foundation.
  2. Seal Air Leaks - In order to seal air leaks you must first find them. The easiest way to do this is to wait for a breezy day and then light an incense stick and carry it around the home holding it near any area that you suspect may be drafty. The most common areas for leaks inside the home are around doors, windows, and electrical outlets. Door sweeps, expanding foam products and caulking are all inexpensive and can be used effectively to seal air leaks within the home.
  3. Inspect the Furnace - Fall is the perfect time to ensure that your furnace is functioning correctly. You can easily test the system, look for any visual signs of damage, and replace the air filter. Climb up in your attic or crawl space and inspect the ducting for leaks. Do this while the furnace is running. A professional inspection and tuneup should be considered and typically runs around $100. Professionals may be able to spot problems that you cannot as they will partically dismantle the furnace and use specialized equipment during their inspection. Even small problems can cause the unit not to work at full capacity, costing you additional money throughout the winter.
  4. Clean the Fireplace - Chimney needs should be addressed prior to building your first fire of the season. Wood burning fireplaces need to be cleaned well to remove soot buildup. Gas fireplaces need to be closely inspected to ensure that all connectors are tight and in good condition. Pay particular attention to the grount between the bricks at the rear of the firebox. Do you see any cracks or missing grout? Now is the time to repair these as failure to do so could result in a fire as super-heated exhaust gases ignite combustable materials on the other side. The ability to have a roaring fire during colder weather is one of the joys of winter. However, it is extremely important to remember that dirty or damaged fireplaces can present safety hazards.
  5. Test Smoke Detectors - The winter months bring with them an increased change of a home fire. For this reason, it is an excellent idea to test out your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the fall. Dead batteries are the most common problem, and this is an easy and inexpensive fix. Note that smoke detectors are not meant to last the lifetime of the home. They should be changed out every ten years and replaced with newer models as sensitivity to detect smaller fires drops as the units age. Learn about the different types of smoke detectors.
Other good ideas for fall include reversing the direction of your ceiling fans and inspecting home insulation. Each of these fall home projects will help you prepare your home for winter without spending a fortune. Remember, taking time now to prevent problems is always less expensive than repairing them after the fact. 

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Darin Redding
Written on Thursday, 27 September 2012 06:57 by Darin Redding

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