Get Real: Winter Is Approaching

Autumn
winds blow a chilly reminder that winter is fast approaching in our beautiful
Brandywine Valley. Perform the following maintenance tips each fall to protect
your property's value and prevent major repairs. Whether you are planning to
sell your house next year, or in 20 years, regular maintenance is key to a
quick sale.

Roof, Gutters and Downspouts

Rain,
ice, snow and wind can all cause damage to your roof and gutters. Now is the
time to trim back all tree limbs and vegetation away from the roof. You also
should remove debris, such as leaves and sticks from your gutters and
downspouts. Clogged gutters don’t allow water to properly drain away from the
home, which can cause seepage in your ceilings and walls. Consider investing in
gutter guards. These are screens that prevent debris from entering the gutter;
they direct the flow of water away from the house and into the ground.

Water
Heater

You
don’t want to find out that your water heater isn’t operating properly when you
most need that heat. So use this time to perform an annual inspection, which
includes having the tank’s pressure and temperature relief valve checked. In
addition, remove sediment from the bottom of the tank by draining two gallons
of water to improve heat transfer and the efficiency of your heater.

Heating
and Cooling System

If
you have a forced warm-air heating system, you should check the exhaust vent
and air shutter openings for dirt and dust. Clean any lint and dirt from the
blower blades, motor and burner (if you have a gas heater). Vacuum air passages
and check and replace, if necessary, fan belts. To prevent airborne dirt from
circulating throughout your home, wash out your reusable filter or replace it
if it’s disposable.

Doors
and Windows

To
help control heating costs, make sure your doors and windows are properly
sealed. Now is the time to repair or replace weather stripping around door
bottoms and jambs and window frames. Check for loose or missing glazing putty
and caulking for deterioration. If you have storm windows, install them.

Water
Pipes

Frozen
or burst pipes can cause major damage to your home and be expensive to remedy.
Before frigid weather hits, protect your pipes in unheated areas from freezing
by adding insulation, which reduces heat loss from hot-water pipes and
condensation on cold water pipes. This can be accomplished by wrapping the
pipes with heating tape or blanket insulation and duct tape or by encasing the
pipes with preformed plastic foam. In addition, examine your pipes for cracks
and leaks.

Fireplace

Before
you light the logs and get ready to settle in front of a cozy fire, make sure
that your fireplace is in good working order. Clean the chimney flue and, if
needed, have it inspected and repaired. Check the seal on your flue, which is
designed to keep out drafts. Replace the seal if it is loose or damaged.

If
you decide to perform the fall maintenance yourself, disconnect the power for
any electrical or gas systems. In addition, before inspecting, cleaning or
making any repairs refer to your owner’s manual for all equipment for proper
instructions, which should be the final authority on any maintenance.

Outdoor Surfaces and Landscaping

Fall
is also a great time to seal your driveways, wood patios and other hardscape
surfaces. In addition, prune tree branches away from your home and electrical
wires. Plant spring flower bulbs and move sensitive potted plants indoors.

Although
this list is merely a guide, it can help you keep your home in good shape and
have a winter free of major repairs.

* Jim DeFrank and Beth Alois can be
reached at 610-388-3700. Prudential Fox & Roach is an independently owned
and operated member of The Prudential Real Estate Affiliates, Inc., a
Prudential company. Equal Housing Opportunity.

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One Response to “Get Real: Winter Is Approaching”

  1. Ellen says:

    Thank you for these useful reminders!

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