Fall Home Maintenance Tips for Homeowners in Mission, TX
Fall in Mission, Texas is a magical time of the year. The Rio Grande Valley bursts into a symphony of colors. The sweltering heat of summer gives way to milder temperatures, and homeowners can enjoy the crisp air and the serenity of their homes. Fall is also the time to prepare your house for the changes that fall brings and prepare your home for winter. Here are some tips on what to do to maintain your house in tip-top condition.
Air Filters: Replace your HVAC’s air filters to ensure they operate efficiently. Clean air filters help maintain good indoor quality and extend the life of your system. Cleaning air filters should be done regularly as Americans, on average, spend approximately 90% of their time indoors – even more so with cold winter months approaching. Some pollutants are often two to five times higher than outdoor concentrations.
Professional Inspection: Consider hiring a professional to inspect your HVAC. They can identify and address issues before it becomes an unnecessary expense. Check the HVAC vents and ducts for dust and debris built up over the summer. Remember to move any flammable material away from heating systems or heating vents.
Thermostat: Now is the time to change to heating from cooling. It will save energy and extend the life of your HVAC system. You can save up to 10% annually on energy costs by turning your thermostat back to 7° to 10°F. The recommended settings for the colder months of 68° F should be comfortable at home. When you are asleep, it can even be lower – between 63° and 65°F. Another wise idea might be to install a programmable thermostat. Although thermostats can be adjusted manually, programmable thermostats will return temperatures to normal before you wake up or return to your home. Remember, the furnace does not work harder than usual to warm a space. As soon as your home drops below its average temperature, it will lose energy to the surrounding environment.
Window and Door Maintenance
Maintenance of window and door seals is essential to keep the fall chill out. Seals wear out over time and let cold air in or warm inside air escape. It is easy to repair and remove the old caulk or weatherstripping, filling all gaps around windows and doors. Clean the windows to allow more light into your home and provide a clear view of the beautiful fall scenery outside.
Gutters and Downspouts
Clear all debris and leaves from gutters and downspouts to prevent rust, rot, and pests. Check at the same time whether the gutter brackets are fastened and that water is not flowing behind the gutters or pooling near the foundation. Clogged drains can cause the water to spill over, seep through the foundation and flood the basement.
Roof and Exterior Damage
Inspect the exterior side of your home for damage to siding, foundation, or roof. Have any damage repaired before winter by calling experts. Exterior paint peeling can indicate that the house is prone to more wear and is not protected against the weather elements.
Missing, loose, or warped shingles on the roof indicate that the roof needs repairs and that the house is not safely protected against water damage during the winter months.
A chimney inspection is essential before using your fireplace. Check the flashings around the chimney and replace the caulk to prevent water damage. Schedule a professional cleaning to avoid creosote and soot build-up, a fire hazard. Ensure the chimney cap is in place to prevent downdrafts, serve as a spark guard, and prevent critters from crawling down the chimney.
Smoke and Carbon Detectors
Test your carbon and smoke detectors and replace the batteries to ensure they are in optimal working condition. Smoke alarms provide an early warning of fire to protect the people at home. However, if not fully functional, it can cause people to die, as three of every five home fire deaths resulted in homes where the fire alarm was not in working condition.
Fall is the time to check your fire extinguishers, show the people at home how it works, and have an evacuation plan in emergencies.
Ensure that your plumbing systems are intact and working correctly—test the pressure valves on the water heater before any leaks. Insulation for the pipes and faucets can help prevent freezing in cold weather. Shut off exterior faucets and hoses after draining them thoroughly to prevent freezing.
Landscaping and Outdoors
There are many ways to get the outdoor area of your home neat and ready for the colder months to come. Start with the sprinklers to winterize it – check on the time, duration, and frequency of the sprinkler. Prepare the yard by pruning the trees and bushes around your property to avoid falling limbs during winter storms. Treat the trees with a fungicide to prevent the risk of disease. Give the rest of the garden the hibernation time, and do not plant or move new plants and trees unless you are growing fall vegetables. Adding mulch to the garden beds can retain moisture and regulate soil temperature. Aerate the lawn to help soil health and allow water to penetrate deeper. Tidy the yard by raking dry leaves before rain and moisture can cause mold and mildew growth. Keep the walkways accessible with low-voltage or solar lanterns. Fill up any cracks in the driveways to prevent water from seeping in, making the cracks larger.
Keep all equipment close to use in winter for a quick rake, shovel, or snow blower for that unexpected snowfall in Mission or a quick tidying of the yard.
Keep the Home Warm and Cozy
Give your fireplace a facelift with stone slabs or tiles around it to prevent soot and dust from entering the room. Make the hearth the focal point for everyone to gather around while keeping fire hazards like newspapers, books, and flammable material on the mantelpiece at a safe distance. A good set of glass fireplace doors can block downdrafts to add a chill to the room. It also provides a barrier between the fireplace and pets or little children, keeping them safe and preventing sparks from flying into the room. Stock up on firewood, keeping it in a dry, easily accessible space. Warm up rooms with cozy carpets to put your feet on when leaving the bed on cold mornings. Consider wall-to-wall carpeting in rooms that do not get enough warmth and sunlight.
Embrace fall, preparing your home for the changes it brings. Follow these few maintenance tips to ensure a comfortable, warm, functional, and beautiful home to relax and enjoy the crisp fall days, knowing you can face the winter months to come.
Speak to us at Dolcan Homes with ideas and personal, professional advice to help you improve your home.