Late Fall Home Maintenance

Porch AutumnAs the cold months of winter approach, now is the time to examine how well your home is prepared to keep you warm through the cold. If you haven’t done one before, a home energy audit is a great way to discover where heat may be escaping your home, which will require your heat system to work harder, ultimately costing you more money. For help arranging a professional home energy audit, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services. Here’s a helpful article on how to perform your own home energy audit.

Here are some tips on how to get your home ready for winter:

Seal drafts
Drafty windows, doors, or other air leaks can keep your heating system running overtime. Check and seal any gaps around electrical outlets, windows, doors or air ducts with foam sealants, caulk or weather stripping. Also check all the seams on the exterior where different building materials meet for any cracks or gaps. Pay special attention to small gaps around cables, fixtures (light or water), vents and pipes.

Insulate the Attic
A well-insulated attic floor is one of the most important steps to keeping your home warm in the winter. If you have an older home, the R-value (a measure of insulations resistance to heat flow) of your insulation may not be the most effective. Here’s a guide on how to measure the R-value of your attic insulation.

Install a programmable thermostat
Installing a programmable thermostat is a fast and relatively inexpensive way to keep your home warm and your costs down.

Ready the fireplace
Make sure your fireplace is ready to keep you warm this winter. Here are a couple suggestions on how to make sure your fireplace is ready to go.

Put leaves to good use
If you run over your leaves with your lawn mower, you can then rake them up and use them as a fall mulch in your flower or vegetable garden. Untouched leaves can smother your grass, so you should rake them up regardless and you might as well get some benefit out of the job.

Hang a bird feeder
Bird seed is a welcomed supplement for birds who don’t migrate and who make “pitstops” during their trip south. Food can be scarce in the winter and a little bird seed can go along way in helping our feathered friends endure the cooler months.

Organize your garage
Has your garage become a catch-all or extra storage space? November is a great time to clean out and organize the garage so you can actually park a car in there. Depending on the condition, it may be a big job, but you’ll be glad you put in the work when you don’t have to scrap ice and brush snow off your car every morning.

Fixing The Fireplace Before You Fire It Up

FireplaceThere are few things better than sitting next to a cozy fire when the cooler temperatures settle in. Before throwing another log on the fire, it’s important to know that your fireplace is working under safe conditions. Here are a few steps you should take to ensure your fall fire doesn’t turn into a holiday hazard.

1. Hire a chimney sweep. The National Fire Protection Association recommends clearing your chimney of soot and debris once a year.

2. Check chimney structure for loose bricks, missing mortar and cracks. Chimney liners should also be checked for any wear or deterioration.

3. Cap the chimney. You want the smoke going out without the critters and rain coming in.

4. Burn seasoned hardwoods. Make sure to burn split, seasoned hardwoods like oak, ash,  and maple. Hardwoods that have been seasoned produce less creosote, a flammable by-product of combustion that can build up in the chimney.

5. Keep it small. Fires that are too large or get too hot could potentially crack the chimney.

6. Play it safe. Use a spark guard to prevent embers from shooting out of the fireplace.

Here are a few more helpful tips for fireplace maintenance. Need help consulting a trusted professional, contact Sibcy Cline Home Services.

Hope everyone stays warm this winter!