By now, chances are the kids have gone back and you’re falling back into your your routine. Soon enough, we’ll all be wrapped up in fuzzy sweaters and cozy blankets enjoying chilly evenings with pumpkin spice everything. But before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s important to take a few preventative steps when it comes to warding off any unwanted cold weather home maintenance issues.
We have put together a checklist of sorts, for you to go through before the month’s end. Preventing maintenance issues is key to saving time and money in the future. Keep reading to learn which home maintenance tasks to tackle now, and click this link for the full article.
1. Check walkways for cracks
“Before the grass is covered with snow, or it’s too cold to venture outside, check walkways for cracks and loose paver material,” says Ryan Williams, general manager of 128 Plumbing, Heating, Cooling & Electric. “Fix walkway and entryway areas before slippery weather can cause a tripping or falling accident.”
DIY: Small cracks can be fixed with simple epoxy and shouldn’t take more than a few hours.
Call in a pro: Serious cracking and concrete damage will require professional repair—expect to spend north of $1,000, although exact costs will depend on the severity of damage and cost of materials and labor in your area.
2. Clean and repair the siding
“After a long summer, siding can become dirty or mildewed,” says Chris Granger, vice president and general manager of Sears Home Services.
September is a great time to use a pressure washer to clean it up—and inspect for more serious problems before winter comes. Check first for rotten or warped areas, and inspect your caulking, which can shrink and crack over time.
DIY: You don’t necessarily have to shimmy up a ladder for a close-up of your siding; the pros we talked to recommend using a smartphone camera or drone to zoom in on problem areas. Inspect the butt joints where two pieces of siding meet and, if you spy cracks, consider tackling the job yourself.
How? A day ahead, thoroughly wash your work surface with soapy water. Once the area is completely dry, squeeze a bit of caulk into the gap in the siding, then smooth it with your finger. Wipe it once more with a damp sponge to even out your work.
(Pro tip: Be sure to never caulk the underside of your siding, which could prevent the boards from expanding and contracting during changing weather.) Once you’ve fixed any problem areas, let everything set for a few days. Then follow up with a good pressure wash (you can rent a machinefor around $35).
Call in a pro: If your siding has seen better days (think missing, bent, or cracked pieces), consider replacing it. As a general rule, fiber cement siding is priciest, followed by wood, aluminum, and vinyl. Replacing vinyl siding on an average 2,200-square-foot home will set you back more than $6,500 (in addition to the cost of removing existing materials). If you choose wood or fiber cement siding, you’ll likely spend twice that. For an expert pressure washing, expect to spend $100 to $300.
3. Check and repair leaky faucets
“Before the temperatures start to dip, examine leaky faucets in the kitchen, bathrooms, and utility room locations,” Williams says. “Most likely, whatever time and money you spend now will be considerably less than a broken pipe in the dead of winter.”
DIY: Just turn on the faucet, turn it off, and watch for any telltale dripping. Your fix might be as easy as replacing the washers on the faucet’s knobs, or you might have a worn cam washer, valve seat, or spring. We have you covered with our step-by-step guide to fixing a leaky faucet.
Call in a pro: If you’d rather not deal with it yourself, you can always hire a plumber. Estimates for fixing leaks vary, but expect to spend at least $100.
4. Make sure windows are sealed tight
All double- or triple-pane windows should have a tight seal around their perimeter that separates the individual panes of glass and traps inert gas between them, providing a break between the temps inside and outside your home. If you notice that your windows are frequently foggy, that’s likely a sign of a failed seal.
DIY: Try cashing in on your windows’ warranty first; many companies will cover failed seals for a decade or longer.
Call in the pros: If your warranty won’t cover a total replacement, check out a professional window defogging company. These pros will reseal the window’s perimeter and replace the gas between the panes for an average of $300 (depending on location and the number of windows).