Fall Maintenance – Inside and Out
🍂 Fall Edition 🎃
By: Michelle McPhee, Broker, SRS,SRES
Love them or hate them Canada has four seasons, and Autumn is a great time to ready your home for what can be brutal winters.
Outside Fall Checklist:
🍂 It’s not the greatest idea to go out and walk around on your roof, but you can still do a visual inspection and if there’s any loose or missing shingles now’s the time to get a hold of a professional roofer.
🍂 Also inspect the soffits and flashing. It’s also a good idea to clean out the gutters and make sure the water can flow freely. Again this may not be a job that is safe to do yourself. Running a water hose is a great way to get rid of all the debris.
🍂 It’s also a good idea to do a visual inspection of your home’s siding. Again a professional may need to be called in if there are any loose or missing pieces.
🍂 Check out the caulking around your doors and windows. Caulking can break down over time and it’s a fairly inexpensive and easy job to replace or even just fill in the cracked caulking. Energy efficiency is important as we head into the coldest months of the year, and every little bit helps. It would also be a good idea to take a close look at the screens of your windows and doors; many screens get tears and rips in them from much use during the summer. Again energy efficiency is important as we head into the winter. Do they need replacing, or are they in good shape and just need a good cleaning?
🍂 Wash the windowsills while you’re at it! Check your doorsills and thresholds, they most likely will need a good cleaning and perhaps a freshening up with some paint.
🍂 Once this work is done on the exterior of your home, take a look at your yard, front and back. In the front, and if you live in an area with lots of trees that are shedding their leaves, make sure the street sewer catchments are kept clear – this may be a daily check if you have lots of leaves in your area! One final cutting of your grass (leave the clippings on it for best fertilization over the cold months), do the winter maintenance on your mower and put it away for a few months!
Inside Fall Checklist:
🍂 Just like Spring cleaning, Fall cleaning really is a thing! This time of year a good amount of emphasis should be put into ensuring the air quality of your home is as “clean” as possible. So this means replacing or cleaning the filter on your furnace and HVAC system. If the filters are washable remove them and give them a good vacuum to remove most of the dust, then wash in a solution made of lukewarm water and mild soap. Rinse thoroughly and let dry before replacing. You should also vacuum your bathroom vents as well vacuuming all registers and grilles to make sure there is no dust accumulation. Keeping vents clean allows for proper air circulation and helps to ensure good indoor air quality.
🍂 After removing the grease filter from your range hood, soak it in warm soapy water with some baking soda. Then scrub it with a non-abrasive brush, rinse, and dry. This method will ensure your filter is working to its full potential.
🍂 Check and clean your clothes dryer vent. This can be an often neglected task that could result in a dire situation such as a house fire.
🍂 Check your crawl spaces and basement for leaks or moisture.
🍂 Remember to check your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors – they only have a 10 year lifespan, so replace them if they’re older than this. Replace the batteries in all of them.
🍂 It would also be a good idea to inspect fireplace and chimney dampers, and clean if necessary.
Follow these few tips and your home – inside and out – will be ready for the next chapter in our Canadian calendar.
Don’t relax on your holidays until you read this
By: Michelle McPhee, Broker, SRS,SRES
A lot of us wait many, many months for our annual summer vacation. We plan where we’re going, where we’ll stay, what we’ll eat and what we’ll see and do. But are you giving as much time and thought into what you should do BEFORE you leave your home?
We leave for our annual family vacation and usually we just close and lock the door and shout “Yippee” as we drive away. But what are we forgetting to do?
- Clean your house - or pay someone to do so. There’s nothing like coming home to a sparkly clean home after a holiday. You’ll most likely have laundry to do when you return from your holiday so make sure you don’t leave piles to do before you leave. Run the dishwasher or do your dishes, don’t leave anything around with food scraps or residue on it - gross and just an invitation for creatures, ants, bugs etc. And don’t forget the refrigerator! I know… it’s not a fun chore… but coming home to a fridge with food that’s been sitting in it for a week is not fun either.
- Tidy up the outside of your home. Does the grass need cutting before you leave? What about your outdoor plants - give them a good soaking with water. Another good tip is to take your baskets down and put them in a kiddie pool that you’ve put some water in and let them sit in the pool and water while you’re gone so they don’t dry out.
- If at all possible, invite your neighbors to park one of their cars in your driveway - at least at a few different times during the days. Would also be a benefit if they could grab any flyers that get delivered and take them in for you. If you get mail delivered to your mailbox at your front door perhaps they could hold on to that for you till you’re back.
- Now’s a great time to invest in some timers if you don’t have any! Make it look like someone is home by putting a few lights on timers that come on and go off during the “dark hours”. Confuse would-be burglars by making it look like you’re at home in the evening. You can use a simple old-school timer or get a fancier one that can be multi-programmed and even controlled while you’re away.
- Make sure your alarm will take care of the house in an emergency. Ensure the batteries are recharged and depending on your alarm company, let them know you’re leaving. You can change who they notify during an emergency, but some require it in writing, so plan ahead! If you don’t have an alarm, you can buy ones that aren’t hard-wired and can easily be set up in an afternoon.
Hide the spare key. If you have a spare key under a front door mat, consider tucking it somewhere less conspicuous. Yes there’s always the fake rock option - as long as you sufficiently hide that fake rock!
- This is an obvious one - check all your windows and doors to ensure they’re all locked.
- Program your thermostat. Not only will it help with energy efficiency it will ensure you come home to a nicely cooled (or heated) home.
- Before you leave, make sure to unplug electronics around the house that don't need power while you're gone. Not only will it save you on your energy bill, it will lower the risk of an electrical fire. Unplug things like routers, televisions, computers or unused chargers.
- This one is a hard one… refrain from “advertising” that you’re away or GOING away. You don’t need complete strangers knowing that your house is vacant!
By following the above tips and practices you’ll ensure you have a restful time away and not worry about forgetting to do something at your home before leaving for your well-earned holiday. Oh and lists are your best friend - I have lists for lists!! Enjoy.
Spring Cleaning Time
By: Michelle McPhee, Broker, SRS,SRES
A helpful guide on how to get your home ready for Summer.