Fall home repairs are all about preparing for the incoming storm - New England Winters. Snow appliances and tools need to be checked, lawn decorations need to be stored away, the pool and patio furniture needs to go in the garage, and maintenance on the house needs to be finished before the snow and colder temperatures wreak havoc. The more prepared you are in Fall, the easier Spring cleanup will be next year!
1. Test Your Home for Radon
Radon gas is a natural gas that you cannot see or smell that comes from the decay of radioactive elements in soil and rock. Granite, for example exerts some of the highest amounts of radon gas (sorry granite state). In the United States, 1 in 15 homes have an above average level of radon. If there are any DIY home repairs you should consider taking on, this is certainly one of the most important. Radon has been known as one of the top causes of lung cancer in the U.S. so it is very important to check your radon levels and take measures to reduce them if possible.
You can test for radon using a short term or a long term test. A short term test takes from 2 to 90 days to process, while a long term test takes 90+ days to process. You should test for radon at the lowest point in the home, closest to soil. You can easily purchase these test kits online or at any hardware store. If the test comes back with level 4+ radon, it’s time to consult with a professional.
Fall is the best time to test for radon because as it gets colder, the windows and doors will be closed. Radon is more likely to get trapped within the home with this decrease in ventilation.
2. Clean and Dust Heaters
This may not seem very complicated on the list of DIY home repairs, but it certainly is important (especially if you are sensitive to dust or if you are allergic). Make sure you go through the house and prepare for the heat to be turned on for the first time in months, and the windows to be closedup. Dust all of your radiators, baseboard heaters, and heating grates. Make sure the heat is on before it gets too cold, you could easily freeze your pipes! Make sure to also take out AC units and check windows for drafts coming in. No need to spend more on heat from old windows!
3. Prepare the Yard and Home Exterior
Make sure your lawn and exterior of the house is ready for the cold and snow. Rake leaves regularly to avoid the lawn rotting and creating brown spots all over the place. Cover gaps around the foundation where animals may be able to get in. Check tree health with the help of a professional arborist and continue to groom the lawn and shrubbery until the first snowflake falls. Fall is also the perfect time to clean the gunk out of your gutter to ensure they will survive all Winter long.
4. Check and Clean Dryer Vents
Lint build up can cause your dryer to work less efficiently and can cause fires if not cleaned out properly. Fall is the most dangerous time for this, as the air is dry and can easily ignite a fire. To clean out the dryer vent (no, not the filter) you should first unplug the dryer and pull it away from the wall. Loosen the clamp holding the house and use a lint brush made for dryer to clean the hose. Replace the house, move the dryer back, and enjoy the difference in quality. This will surely be of great use when you’re trying to dry your socks by the fire because the dryer isn’t working properly.
5. Increase Efficiency by Weather Stripping
If your house is particularly drafty, and you don’t have the funds for all new windows, weather stripping is a great solution for the Winter. Doing this will close up the cold spots and increase energy efficiency, which ultimately saves you money on utility bills. Draft stoppers should also be placed under doors to help decrease cold air coming when the door is opened and closed.
You can save a lot of money using these energy efficient DIY home repairs. At the end of the day, some things are better left to the professionals, and Sidekick Home is happy to help! To prepare all your heating systems for the inclement weather, call a professional for an energy audit, chimney cleaning, and heating system maintenance check.