Here at Building Pro Inspections, we are putting away our pool floaties and fully embracing the season of fall. Autumn in the Okanagan brings alluring, warm hues in the leaves and plentiful amounts of activity at the wineries as they begin their harvests. Although fall is a great time to enjoy a pumpkin spiced beverage or a glass of chardonnay with friends, it is also time to prepare your home for the winter to come.
There is a lot to do, but if you start early and tackle the most crucial tasks right away, you and your family can enjoy a warm winter, full of joy instead of disasters around the home. Our team at Building Pro has outlined three areas around the house that many home owners forget to address, which can be extremely costly down the road.
1. Take Care of the Lawn and Lawn Equipment
One of our favourite parts of winter is not having to cut the grass, even if we do have to trade the task for shovelling snow once in a while. As the temperatures begin to drop, your grass will slow its growing rate and you can give it a final trim for the year. Once you have completed the last cut, you can give your lawnmower and weed-wacker a good scrub down and ensure that you run all the gasoline out of them. While you are working with your small engines you can prepare your snowblower for the snowstorms ahead by changing the oil, inflating the tires, and starting it up for a test run to ensure everything is in working order.
Before you forget your lawn, give it one last bit of love with a little fertilization. This will promote deep, healthy root systems which will ensure that your grass survives through the cold winter months. Fertilizing now will also give your grass a head start in the spring as there will be nitrogen stored in the roots. Head down to your local hardware store and look for a fertilizer that is designed for the fall months.
2. Gut out Your Gutters
As homeowners, we all know that we should clean out our gutters, but it is not the most entertaining task and usually takes a backseat to other activities around the home. This can be a costly mistake as clogged or uncontrolled gutters can result in thousands of dollars in damages from overflowing water which can damage your roof, rooms inside your home and even your foundation. A gutter that spills in the wrong area can also be extremely dangerous in the cold, creating unintentional skating risks near the home that can send a passerby flying.
Take a few extra minutes and ensure that your gutters are free from leaves, sticks and other debris. You can even utilize a leaf blower or pressure washer in some situations, just ensure you are cleaning in a safe manner, especially if there is a ladder involved. To avoid accidental ice rinks, look for a downspout extension that can channel falling water to a safe, controlled location. A simple flexible extension will usually cost $5-$15 dollars at a hardware store.
3. Avoid Fire During Times of Ice
Unfortunately, the winter months can be the most dangerous time of year for home fires. The holiday seasons feature more home cooking than usual, Christmas lights, scented candles, Christmas trees and homes heated by fire or furnace. All of these items or activities will drastically increase the likelihood of a fire breaking out this fall and winter. Luckily, there are a few tasks you can complete to avoid disaster.
First you should test all your fire detectors, extinguishers, and carbon monoxide detectors. Change batteries where required and review your fire safety plan with your family members. Next item on your list should be your chimney. If you are not familiar with the cleaning processes and workings of your chimney, bring in an expert to inspect and clean the entire unit. Creosote buildup can quickly turn a peaceful crackling fire into an uncontrolled inferno.
Before you forget the dangers of fire, you will need to consider your other heating systems. If your home has a furnace, the filter should be changed to decrease heating bills, air pollution, and risk of fire. There are many companies that are HVAC system experts that can ensure your system is running efficiently and safely before the cold temperatures arrive.
If you address these three areas of your home, your fall will be off to a productive and safe start. Stay warm and informed this fall, from your friends at Building Pro Inspections!