WINTER IS COMING! Get Ready with these 10 Fall Projects.

As the weather starts to cool down, you have the perfect opportunity to prepare your home for colder days. Get these projects done before it’s too late!

Upgrade your old furnace

  • If your furnace is 10-15 years old and is taking longer to heat up the house than usual, it may be time to replace it.

Check on Important Insulation

  • Specifically, check on weatherstripping around your doors, windows, and garage door. The felt strips seal these openings to prevent drafts, but they can wear down over time.

Clean out your gutters

  • Your gutters work hard over fall and winter, and they need your help. Clean them out to prevent them from overflowing with rain or snow and damaging your roof.

Replace Old Single-Pane Windows

  • Single-pane windows are poor insulators. If you have any of these windows, consider replacing them with double-pane windows.

Replace missing shingles

  • Your roof needs to be in good shape to resist wind, rain and snow. Replace any missing shingles and fix other signs of damage before those eyesores turn into serious and expensive leaking problems.

Prepare Your Fireplace

  • For wood fireplaces, clean them out thoroughly, check the chimney, and make sure that you have an ample supply of wood. Gas and electric fireplaces can also benefit from an annual inspection.

Switch your ceiling fan direction

  • Ceiling fans should turn clockwise in the colder months, which pushes warm air back down into the room. Most fans have a simple switch that reverses the direction.

Hibernate Outdoor AC Units

  • Clean and cover your outdoor air conditioning unit to protect it from rain and snow.

Winterize Irrigation Systems

  • In colder climates, your irrigation system should be blown out to remove any water and prevent freeze-ups that can ruin sprinklers.

Trim Problem Bushes and Trees

  • The last thing you want are branches to hit your house during a windstorm. Now is the time to inspect nearby trees and shrubs, and cut any low-hanging or dying branches before they can do damage.

 

5 Common Homeowner Mistakes

Owning a home is great, it can also be a hassle. When unexpected issues pop up—whether it’s a minor breakdown or a major catastrophe, it will require time and money to fix.

In many instances, the issues can be avoided with a little effort ahead of time.

Here are 5 common mistakes and tips from experts to avoid them.

  1. Ignore the small stuff. The faucet with a slow drip. The little crack in a board on your deck. They might not seem like big problems, but they can turn into bigger issues over time. A leaky faucet means a high water bill, a crack can lead to rot, which could lead to replacing the board—or the entire deck. When you see “small” things around the house, take steps to address them now because it’s a lot easier (and cheaper) today than a year from now.
  2. Not doing regular checks. How often do you look around the house? You’d be surprised how many people haven’t been in their attic or crawlspace for years. It’s a good idea to do a walk-through periodically to look for issues. Don’t forget to look outside too!
  3. Skipping maintenance on your appliances. Maintenance can prevent serious risks. When was the last time you cleaned out your dryer exhaust vent? Too much lint buildup can cause a fire—so clean it out at least once a year. You also should check the hoses connected to your washing machine and dishwasher. If they are worn, replace them. Other tips:
    • Clean your refrigerator coils once a year.
    • Clean your dishwasher’s food filter regularly.
    • Test your smoke and carbon-monoxide detectors twice a year, installing fresh batteries each time.
  4. Neglecting other systems. Your HVAC system needs attention so it won’t fail when you need it most. Having it serviced each year will alert you to potential problems. Change filters at the appropriate intervals, and if it’s been a while since you’ve had your ducts cleaned, consider that as well.
  5. No home warranty. Despite your best maintenance efforts, the air conditioner may break down, leaving you sweltering in the summer. The water heater could stop working, meaning cold showers every morning. Or the refrigerator may not get cold any more. These things happen and if your appliance is out of warranty, you’re on the hook.

Your home is one of your biggest investments, so be diligent about caring for it. Keep your eyes open around the house. Don’t hesitate to get out tools or call a professional if needed. Remember, prevention is the best medicine.

Bored During COVID? Make Your Home Safer!

During these crazy times many people are working on home improvements.

There are plenty of simple maintenance tasks and other improvements you can utilize to make your home safer.

You won’t have to break out the power tools or worry about getting in over your head.

Water Works
Even minor leaks can cause major problems, from high water bills to costly repairs. Here are some easy ways to ensure your water stays where it should:

  • Check appliances. They’re the most common source of water leaks in homes, so it’s worth taking a look at least once a year to check for problems. The hoses that come with your washer and dishwasher can mean big trouble – they break down over time. Look for kinks or cracks, and replace if needed. Consider using reinforced hoses, ones with steel braiding or mesh won’t hold up forever, but they’re stronger than rubber or plastic.
  • Watch the pressure. Water pressure set too high can cause pipes, hoses and water lines to leak or burst. Inexpensive gauges are available at home-improvement stores to test your pressure.
  • Consider installing water sensors. These can alert you to a leak or other problem soon after it occurs – some can even send messages to your smartphone.

Keep Your Family On Their Feet
Millions of Americans are injured in falls each year. Look around your home. Should you make some of these fixes?

  • Reduce clutter. Everything from small pieces of furniture to area rugs can pose a hazard, so make sure they’re in appropriate places and out of the way if possible.
  • Add stability to stairs. Make sure stairways have sturdy rails, and maybe even non-slip strips, particularly outdoors.
  • Let there be light. It’s hard to walk safely when you can’t see obstacles or potential trouble spots. Make sure your home is well-lit, and don’t forget night lights, too.

Give Everyone Some Air
Pollution isn’t just an outside thing – the air in your home can be unhealthy, too. But helping people breathe a little easier isn’t hard when you follow these steps:

  • Test the air (and your detectors). Make sure you have working carbon-monoxide and smoke detectors and test them regularly.
  • Check your filters and ducts. Keeping your furnace filter and air ducts clean will keep your air cleaner as well.
  • Keep your home clean. Dust doesn’t just build up on the furniture – it ends up in the air as well. Regular cleaning means cleaner air.

Home improvement doesn’t have to mean a remodel. Making your home safer could be the best improvement of all.

Reposted with permission from the original author, Safeco Insurance®.