Shorter days and cooler nights bring forth sweaters and pumpkin-spice lattes. All indicators that it’s time to prep your home for the coming stormier seasons.

Too often we meet someone excited about a remodel only to discover that deferred maintenance is going to evaporate the larger chunk of there. Budget. Keeping atop these annual maintenance tips (and more!), will help make your bigger ideas become a reality.

Inspect your roof. Replace missing, worn, loose, shingles. Gently clean mildew and moss to allow free flow of water off your roof shingles. If you aren’t sure how to properly clean your roof that is safe for it’s longevity and the health of your surrounding yard and ground/stormwater, please ask us for a referral to someone who does. [ProTip: YouTubers don’t all have it right! Some suggestions will harm your roof’s longevity.]

Clean gutters and downspouts. Clear leaves, twigs, and other items out from your gutters. Afterwards, run water through them to ensure water is draining properly to, down, and out of the downspouts. [ProTip: Avoid calling us for an unplanned basement remodel by ensuring ALL water drains away from your home’s foundation (and not towards your neighbor’s foundation either!).]

Prepare your fireplace. Have your chimney thoroughly cleaned and inspected by a professional each year. Not only will it help your indoor air quality and ensure your fire burns efficiently, but having your chimney and fireplace maintained also ensures you equipment is discharging the least amount of particulates possible. Even new, efficient fireplaces only stay as such if maintained properly. [ProTip: if you don’t use your fireplace but aren’t ready to remove it, use a chimney balloon to seal up the flue.]

Batten down the hatches. Reduce air leaks and potential water intrusion by weather stripping or caulking the doors and windows. While you are poking around, check that your siding joints are also properly caulked and that there is a solid 6”-12” of space between the ground and your siding around your entire home. [ProTip: Not all caulks are appropriate for all situations/materials. Do your research.]

Schedule an HVAC system checkup. Maintaining your heat pump or furnace ensures your system stays as efficient as possible. Gas furnace inspections often include a carbon monoxide test as well. [ProTip: recent years building codes have required a carbon monoxide detector – if you have lived in your home a long time, you might check that you have one and that it is functioning – there are easy plug-in options if needed.]

Detector Tests. While you are testing your carbon monoxide detector, check on your smoke detectors too. Smoke detectors can last up to 10 years, while carbon monoxide detectors usually last about six. [ProTip: write the date of installation on your detector so that you don’t have to remember if you installed it the year your son broke his arm or your niece won the state championship.]

Feed your garden. Apply compost and natural fertilizer to your grass and gardens in the fall to prevent winter damage.

Protect outdoor furniture. Yes, outdoor furniture is built to be outdoors. However, our winter rain, wind, and freeze can be really harsh and cause your furniture to loose it’s luster sooner than you’d like. Protect your furniture by placing it under a covered patio or underneath a sturdy waterproof cover.  [ProTip: If you use a waterproof cover, ensure it has vents so that condensation and moisture will evaporate]

Create a clean energy plan. In the Northwest, our biggest consumption is energy. Insulation is your first line of defense against high energy consumption. When the power goes out, it will help keep your home warm longer by creating a barrier against the cold elements outside and keeping the warm air inside – inside!. It also happens to keep the hot days of summer weather out, reducing the need (or desire) for air conditioning. We have solutions for all styles and conditions of homes – so don’t listen to the naysayers – reach out to us! If you can’t change out your heating system to a high efficiency one or offset with solar panels – at minimum, create a family plan for how to keep your energy needs as lite as possible. [ProTip: also plan for what heating system or hot water heater will be your next best step – that way if/when one falls, you will have a better system conceptualized to implement at your fingertips rather than making a knee-jerk decision in the moment.]