Get your home ready with our quick maintenance checklist.
Some people here get very excited about the warm active summers. Others are all about the wonderful white winters. But the season everyone seems to love the most in Central Oregon is fall. The temps are mild and comfortable for all of the outdoor activities, yet the trails, waterways and golf courses are much less-crowded. And we all remember why we moved here in the first place. No wonder it’s the only season that has two names.
But in between all of those delightful autumn hikes, bike rides and rounds of golf, you still need to take care of a few home maintenance items to make sure you can enjoy the winter months as well. Not only will lower your utility costs, it can help you avoid expensive repair bills.
Annie, Get Your Caulking Gun
First on your to-do list next weekend is making sure your house is air tight. Leaks near doors, windows and other openings account for a high percentage of heating costs due to a loss of warm air. Sealing these areas with weather stripping or caulk will leave your home feeling more comfortable and significantly reduce your heating costs.
Service the Furnace
Once your home is no longer leaking its vital essence (heat), make sure the furnace is ready to produce it. After all of the smoke-filled skies we’ve had recently, it’s especially important to have an HVAC company inspect, clean or change the air filters. This keeps energy costs down while extending the life of the system and helping to improve indoor air quality.
Blow Out Before the Snow’s Out
Leaves turning colors and falling to the ground are a sure sign that it’s about time to have your irrigation system winterized. Most sprinklers are not buried deep enough to avoid freezing in the winter, and frozen pipes that are full of water are very likely to break. Most professional landscaping companies are equipped with compressors that can force the water out of the pipes with air pressure. But they get very busy this time of year, so you’ll want to contact one soon. Don’t forget to drain, disconnect and store garden hoses for the winter as well.
Gutting it Out
After some recent winds, your gutters are probably filled with dirt, leaves and other debris, limiting water flow. After you’ve removed everything you can, it’s a good idea to pour a gallon or so of water to make sure your gutters are sloped properly and will drain when the winter snow melts off the roof. If you’re unable to do this yourself because of the height of your roof, contact a pro. They can also offer solutions to keep debris from getting into your gutters in the first place.
The Ice Dams Cometh
If you’re new to colder climates like we have in Central Oregon, you should know that ice dams can form on snow-covered roofs during freezing and thawing cycles. Warm air escaping from inside the home moves through the attic, heats the roof and melts the snow from below. This melted snow (aka water) flows down the roof under the snow pack, until it reaches the much colder eaves, which causes the water to freeze. This creates a literal dam of ice which allows water behind it to pool up over the heated attic space. Standing water on top of the roof will try to finds its way into the home, and can damage walls, ceilings and insulation, all of which can cause many thousands of dollars in repairs.
One way to help prevent ice dams is to hire a professional to add insulation, seal warm air leaks and create proper ventilation in your home. Short of that, your next best option is to regularly scrape the snow from the roof or hire a pro to remove it for you before it’s too late.
We hope you’re enjoying the crisp mornings and mild afternoons of fall in Central Oregon. But if you’d like to get out and enjoy winter just as much, you’ll need to get your homework done.
Some information provided by ABBIE AND RICK SAMS.