11-3-13 Ten fall tips

Ten Fall Tips

We can’t prevent Fall from coming, but we can provide a few ideas that properly executed will preserve your home for years to come and reduce the operating expenses.  We would also like to suggest that you regularly check here for a variety of tips.  We are starting a series on home safety that might, among other things, help prevent a fall around your home.


  1. The clocks got turned back this past weekend.  We are approaching that time of year when it’s dark when you get up in the morning and when you get home from a day at work or running errands.  Daylight savings time officially ended at 2am on Sunday, November 3, 2013.  Don’t forget the thermostat clock as well, particularly if you use it to program heat settings.  Plan something special for the extra hour you have on Sunday.
  2. Change the filter in your furnace.  Regularly changing the filter in your furnace makes for a healthy home and reduces your energy costs.   It will also prolong the life of the furnace.  People in the Northwest typically spend twenty to thirty more hours per week inside their homes during fall and winter.  Paying attention to the air you breathe can pay important dividends.
  3. Inspect the exterior of your home.  Look for any areas at corners, near windows or doors, or siding transition areas where the caulk may be failing or need a little refreshing.  With Northwest wind and rains, keeping the house moisture tight is important in avoiding long term headaches.
  4. Clean gutters and downspouts.  With trees in the Northwest and most jurisdictions requiring more trees on private home sites, cleaning yard debris from the gutter can seem like a full time job.  Consider a cover system that prevents the build-up of leaves or needles if your home is surrounded by a number of tall trees.  It is important to make sure the water runoff from your roof is making its way into the gutters and the downspouts are draining away from the house.   Putting a $3 jet nozzle on your hose (available at your local hardware store) and running it into the downspouts can clear out most blockages.  Sleep well as the rain hits the roof and windows.
  5. Winterize the hose bibs.  New homes include frost free hose bibs which mean that the water supply is usually kept in insulated space when the faucet is turned off, significantly reducing the risk of freezing.  Be sure, however, to remove hoses from the spigot as they can trap water inside.  Even if you have frost free hose bibs, placing a $4 cover over the hose bib won’t hurt and if you don’t or the hose bib is located adjacent to an unheated space, they can save a big hassle.  You can take a stress free trip to a warmer and dryer climate this winter.
  6. Rake leaves or other yard debris away from the house.   Winds will often create an accumulation of yard debris right up against the windward side of the house.  This can become a nesting space for unwanted household pests that are always looking for protection during the winter months.
  7. Test the smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.  When you change the clocks forward in the Spring or back in the fall, it is always a good time to make sure your detectors are working and it is an easy task to remember when you are moving dials or using keypads to change time.  Typically there is a test button on the device that can be depressed to confirm proper functioning.
  8. Winterize the outdoor furniture.  It’s a great idea to remove outdoor furniture and barbeques from exposure to the elements.  Put them away in a breezeway or cover them with a weather resistant tarp or cover made for the purpose.  Find a cozy seat by the window to contemplate spring.
  9. Clean out the wood burning fireplace or inspect the manufactured fireplace.  It’s a good time to clear ashes or other debris out of the wood burning fireplace and removing any combustible material (papers, magazines, etc.) that are nearby.  Also inspect the vents for gas or wood burning fireplaces for damage or obstructions.  Sit down and read a book.
  10. Inspect the grout and caulk around countertops, showers, and floors.  Repair or replace as needed to make sure moisture does not intrude into wood or other materials that might be susceptible to mold or dry rot.  Enjoy a bubble bath.