Monday, September 28, 2020 / by Vanessa Saunders
By Vanessa Saunders, MBA, MIMC , Broker Owner, Global Property Systems Real Estate.
Here in the Hudson Valley, the change of seasons means it’s time to get your home and garden ready for winter. Before you decide to go leaf-peeping or getting in that one last round of golf, take care of these pre-winter to-dos.
Have your roof checked by a pro to repair or replace it.
Winter snow and ice take a toll on asphalt shingle roofs. If yours needs repair or replacement, don't wait too long. Asphalt shingles need to be installed at temperatures between 40 and 85 degrees. Any colder and the shingles can become brittle and break apart. Cold temperatures also prevent the adhesive sealant from activating, making it easy for winter winds to blow them away. So if your roof needs a little love, call your local roofer NOW.
Clean and Seal Your DeckYou've been walking on it all summer long, but your deck is one of the most often neglected structures on your home. Check it for safety and get it ready for spring. The easiest test is to walk around it sprinkling water in different areas. If water soaks into the boards, it needs resealing. If water forms a puddle or beads up, the deck is repelling water and will be safe for the winter.
Winterize Your Driveway and Sidewalks
Most people don’t give their driveway a second thought when winterizing the home. However, New York's snow, ice and salt can take its toll on concrete and asphalt surfaces. Pull out any weeds growing in the cracks, and repair those cracks with concrete caulk or sealer. Ditto cracks in asphalt driveways with asphalt sealer. Take a little polyurethane caulk and do your expansion joints and seal the whole thing with the appropriate sealer.
Clean and inspect your fireplace and chimney.
If you haven’t had a professional clean your chimney in a year, have it done now. Winter wood fires produce creosote, a sticky and highly combustible tar that collects in your chimney. If heated hot enough (remember that impressive fire you had last Christmas burning the gift wrap?) it can ignite and actually damage the steel chimney liner. In unlined chimneys, it can cause a chimney fire which can set your roof ablaze. Now THAT would make for a memorable Christmas wouldn’t it.
Whether the chimney vents gas, oil, coal, pellets, corn, wood or other fuel, they all need inspecting annually and cleaned when necessary. The corrosive byproducts of each fuel type will dictate the types of problems they will cause in a chimney and which type of maintenance will be necessary.
Check your home heating and A.C. systems.
Don’t get caught in the cold with a broken furnace – add an HVAC check to your fall home checklist. Replace your furnace filters (and why not replace your AC filter while you’re at it.) Clean leaves, dirt and debris from your outdoor central air unit. If you have an older boiler or heating system, have an H
VAC pro do a system check to inspect, clean, and test all safety controls.
Older furnaces can be up to 50 percent less efficient than newer models, so if you’re shopping for a replacement, look for systems with the Energy-Star label.
Winterize your lawn and garden
Water your plants deeply one last time, best to do when the temps get into the 40’s but before they freeze. Mulch around the base of trees, even if you use leaves to do it. Shield dense shrubs with wire mesh to help them survive wind and snow. Protect vulnerable newer plants and clean up garden debris.
Give the lawn a final cut and aerate. Apply a pre-emergent herbicide and lay down a layer of fall fertilizer two or three weeks prior to the first freeze.
Gutters and downspouts
Clearing gutters will help prevent one of the most damaging winter problems - ice dams. If melting snow freezes as it rolls down your roof, it can create a dam that lets standing water back up under your shingles and seep into the house. Clean out gutters, clear spouts and flush both with water. Gutter guards are an inexpensive way to simplify this unglamorous job.
Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors
Three out of five home fire deaths occur in homes with no smoke alarms or no working smoke alarms. Inspect your smoke detectors thoroughly to keep your family safe this winter. Be sure there’s one smoke alarm on every floor and near all sleeping areas. Test them according to directions. Replace batteries when they chirp, or regularly change them when we change to Daylight Savings Time. We “fall back” this year on November 1.
Check carbon monoxide detectors too, because furnaces and space heaters can emit this toxic gas. Most accidental carbon monoxide poisonings occur in January and the second most in December.
Taking care of these preparations prior to the hustle and bustle of the holiday season will ensure your health and safety during the coming winter months. For further information about preparing your home for winter or for selling it now or in the future, CONTACT US.