No matter which type of home you own, from an apartment, to a townhouse, to a condo, to a traditional family home, you need to take care of essential end-of-summer maintenance tasks to prepare for cooler seasons. In many cases, you can save on costly repair bills and energy bills during winter if you properly maintain your home ahead of time.
1. Clean Your Heating Sources
Homeowners need to ensure their heating systems are ready to handle the extra load required when the temperature drops. The first thing you can do is replace your furnace filter, so your system can work more efficiently with a clean filter in place. Next, you should contact an HVAC professional to inspect and maintain your furnace or HVAC system.
A pro will make sure it is in working order and perform regular maintenance tasks to prevent a system breakdown in the dead of winter. If he finds that your system needs to be replaced, it is better to do it before the peak of the season.
If you rent your apartment or townhouse, you may not have to worry about having your chimney, flue, or furnace cleaned. But, you should keep your radiators, vents, air returns, baseboard heating elements, and other heating sources clean to ensure they run as efficiently as possible when the weather gets cool. You may be surprised to see just how much dust and lint settle on your heating sources.
Begin by using a bristle brush or toothbrush to get into the nooks and crannies of your heating sources and air returns. Then, use a vacuum to remove the dust you loosen. If you can remove your vent covers, do so and wash them with warm water and gentle dish soap. Not only will you maximize your heating efficiency this winter by keeping your heating sources clean, but you will reduce the amount of dust, dust mites, dander, and other particles and allergens that are in your home and that reduce the quality of your indoor air.
2. Wash Your Windows and Upgrade Your Window Treatments
Washing windows is not a fun chore, but if you wash your windows at the end of summer inside and out, you will allow more natural lighting to enter your home as the weather cools. Allowing more natural light to enter your home will benefit you in two ways: it will help you ward off seasonal affective disorder, and it will warm your indoor air naturally. The more sunlight you can get during the cooler seasons the better, as studies show that sunlight boosts your mood and makes you more productive. And, the sun’s rays can warm your home even on the coldest winter days if you open your shades.
When the sun goes down, you can maximize your home’s energy efficiency by using shades or drapes that provide extra insulation. Look for those that have a high R-value, because the higher the R-value, the more insulation they provide. You can look for thermal drapes or insulated shades for your home.
Of course, insulated window treatments are more effective when your windows aren’t drafty. When you’re doing your end-of-summer window washing, inspect your window seals. You can fix small holes or gaps in caulk by adding another layer on top. If you are a renter and notice large gaps or cracks in your window caulking, alert your superintendent that it should be replaced as soon as possible.
3. Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Gutters and downspouts divert water from your home year-round. You may not realize just how important this is until they become so clogged with leaves and debris that water backs up and causes problems with your roof, fascia, or foundation this winter.
Homeowners can save headaches and money by hiring a professional to clean downspouts and gutters at the end of summer instead of paying to have larger, more extensive damage repaired because of dirty gutters in the middle of winter. In fact, HomeAdvisor reports that the average price to clean gutters and downspouts in New York is $101 – $202, and the typical project timeline is two hours.
No matter which type of residence you call home, you need to complete end-of-summer home maintenance tasks to be prepared for harsh winter weather. Be sure to clean your heating sources, wash your windows and upgrade your window treatments, and clean your gutters and downspouts sooner rather than later.