School is back in full swing, fall is in the air and mornings are beginning to be a bit chilly so this month is prime time for tackling projects in your Salt Lake City Homes.
Have you ever wondered why 'fall cleaning' isn't as popular as 'spring cleaning?' The air on brisk September mornings wake us up and give us a nudge to clean up the home and fasten things up in preparation for colder days and longer nights.
Add weatherstripping to doors and windows
Weatherstripping can be in the fashion of plastic, foam, felt or metal; its job is to seal small gaps to keep cold air outside where they belong. Is your weatherstripping torn or missing? This can weigh heavy on the pocket if ignored. On doors, make sure the bottom seal is working the way it should - there are many sweeps, gaskets and thresholds made to seal this gap. Doors usually require weatherstripping in their jambs as well. Adhesive - backed foam pads are easy installation for this purpose. Newer, energy efficient windows in most cases don't require added weatherstripping, but if you have older windows, weatherstripping can keep drafts at bay and energy costs down.
Check storm windows
If your home has storm windows that are cracked or dirty, repair and clean them now - prior to autumn installation.
Fight winter with plywood
Set aside a couple of scrap sheets of plywood. When the weather is predicted to go into a cold spell, set the boards against the exterior basement vents on whichever side of your house bears the brunt of your prevailing weather patterns. This could help prevent frozen pipes. Make sure to remove the boards once the weather warms up - those vents are there for a reason.
This is prime time to check the condition of insulation and see if you are needing more, especially if you live in an older home. If you are just needing to fatten up what is already there, you can purchase unbacked or loose-fill insulation. Remember that the foil-backed side is the vapor barrier, and it must face the heated area.
Make a quick run around the house and check your gutters to make sure they are clear - they'll soon be working extra hard dealing with rainstorms and falling leaves.
Keep mice out
Unfortunately September inspires nesting in mice as well as humans. They are looking for a winter home now, and that newly insulated attic would be just the spot. Mice can squeeze through quarter-inch openings; rats need a half - inch. Check and make sure all exterior vents are screened, and there are no gaps underneath garage doors. If you are careless about leaving doors and windows open this time of year, you'll be setting mousetraps later. Pets are also another favorite access point for rodents.
Any gaps on the outside of your home can be a target for caulking. Look at transitions spots: corners, windows, doors, areas where masonry joins siding, or places where bents and other objects protrude from walls. Make sure to purchase a caulking gun and to read manufacturer's directions to make sure the caulk will work where you plan to use it. Early fall is prime time for this job because caulk becomes difficult to apply when the temperature falls.
Planning ahead is a good idea if you have a wood stove. Hardwoods such as oak, hickory and maple are slow, hot, clean burners where as softwoods like fir and cedar burn faster and create hazardous creosote in the chimney, requiring more system maintenance and more wood. When storing your wood, remember wood piles attract insect and animal pests, so stack wood away from the house. Wood dries best when it's protected from rain and has air circulating around it, so under the roof of a wall-less carport would be an ideal wood storage spot.
Clean dryer vent
This task should really be on our to-do list every six months. Scoot your clothes dryer away from the wall, unplug, and vacuum behind it. ( If it's a gas dryer, turn off the gas supply to the dryer at the appliance shutoff valve.) Unhook the tube that leads to the vent and clear as much lint from the tube as you can. Grab a shop vac, go outside, and tackle the outdoor dryer vent as well.
Inspect your roof and chimney
On a dry day, if your roof isn't to steep, and isn't covered with slate or tile, you may be able to carefully walk on it. Look for broken or missing shingles, missing or damaged flashing and seals around vent pipes and chimneys, and damage to boards located along the eaves. Also look down your chimney with a flashlight to make sure no animals have set up house in it. You can Perform this inspection with a ladder around the perimeter if you are unable to get on your roof. Take special attention to valleys and flashings - many leaks originate in these spots. Some patches and roofing cement now can prevent thousands of dollars of water damage later in the winter.
LINDA SECRIST - LINDA SECRIST & ASSOCIATES - EVERYTHING THEY TOUCH TURNS TO SOLD!