Before winter arrives, we need to do a few critical chores prior to the winter months and frozen temperatures.
By now you can likely shut down the basement dehumidifier since the outside air in the cooler months sees a significant drop in humidity.
Gutter maintenance: The number one issue with wet basements and water backing up into the eves is clogged gutters from the fall leaves and debris. Making sure the gutters are clean and the leaders are diverting the water away from the foundation is critical. While you are up there, check the roof for any signs of significant wear or dislodged or missing tiles.
Heating system tune ups and filters: Have your heating system tuned up and inspected. If you have a forced hot air duct work system, having the filter changed is critical for healthy air and a clean system. Standard 1-inch thick filter should be changed every 2 months during the heating season, and we prefer that you use pleated filters and not fiberglass filters. A minimum efficiency rated value (MERV) in the range of 6-9 would do a great job of keeping the particulates down and your ducts clean.
Yard and vegetation maintenance: Many homeowners tend to forget about their yards during the colder months, but your landscaping can pose a significant threat to your home if it’s neglected. For example, make sure to trim tree branches and bushes away from your roof and siding, as well as clear any rotting vegetation away from your foundation. Windy cold days can snap branches over your roof and cause damage.
Hoses and outside spigots: Remove and drain outside hoses: Before the first freeze, you should detach outdoor hoses, drain any standing water and store them inside. Be sure to drain your outdoor faucets and close the interior shut-off valves to the hose bibs or spigots to help prevent frozen pipes over the winter.
Insulate water lines: Look at your plumbing pipes and water lines — especially those on exterior walls and in crawl spaces. Make sure they’re insulated to avoid frozen pipes and leaks this winter. Cleaning all lines can help remove clogs that cause backups, which can freeze, then cause the weakening of pipes and bursting. Wrap your pipes with insulation designed for plumbing. In many situations, insulation will be all you need to protect your pipes.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: Common advice is to test smoke and CO detectors when you set your clocks to “Fall Back” and “Spring Forward.” We recommend doing it before your furnace kicks on for the first time this season. Make sure the detectors are all working as expected and replace any batteries in units that aren’t hardwired to your home. Carbon monoxide is an odorless gas that can be deadly at high levels, and while CO is dangerous any time of year, it’s especially of concern in the winter when windows and doors are shut while gas furnaces and fireplaces are on.