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As daylight savings approaches, it is the perfect time for homeowners to prepare their homes for the colder months ahead. Routine maintenance can protect you from danger, save money and extend the life of your plumbing and heating systems. Schedule essential maintenance tasks that will keep your home safe, comfortable, and energy-efficient.
Here is a comprehensive homeowner maintenance checklist compiled by our team of experts who provide plumbing HVAC and electrical services every day:
Cover Outdoor AC Condenser
Remove Hoses from Hose Bibs
Exercising Shut-Off Valves
Test and Replace Outdoor Light Bulbs
Test GFCI and AFCI Circuit Breakers
Exercise All Breakers
Test Eave Outlets for Christmas Lights
Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Testing
Lubricate Garage Door Chain, Rollers, and Spring
Clean Bathroom Fans
Change Furnace Filters
Yearly Furnace Service/Maintenance
Yearly Water Heater Maintenance
Check Humidifier Filters
Test Fireplace Switch
Inspect Weather Stripping
For Mobile Homes: Test the Outdoor Receptacle for Heating Cable Sets
For Mobile Homes: Test for Leaking to Prevent Sewer Line Freeze
1. Cover Outdoor AC Condenser:
Your outdoor air conditioning condenser unit is a crucial component of your cooling system during the hot summer months. Consider covering your outdoor AC condenser with a specially designed cover. This simple step can extend the lifespan of your unit and prevent damage, or inefficiency caused by dirt, debris, dust and leaves. Secure the cover tightly to withstand strong winds
2. Remove Hoses from Hose Bibs:
Leaving garden hoses connected to your outdoor faucets or hose bibs during the fall and winter can lead to freezing and potential damage. To avoid costly repairs and to help ensure that your outdoor plumbing remains in working order when spring returns:
– Disconnect and store your hoses in a dry, sheltered location to prevent freezing and damage, before the first frost.
–Thoroughly drain the hoses to remove all residual water.
– Shut off the water supply to outdoor hose bibs and drain any remaining water to protect them from freezing.
3. Exercising Shut-Off Valves:
Regularly operating shut-off valves for sinks, toilets, and other water-using appliances helps prevent them from seizing due to inactivity. This simple step can save you from headaches when you need to make plumbing repairs.
4. Test and Replace Outdoor Light Bulbs:
With the days growing shorter, outdoor lighting becomes increasingly important. Go through your outdoor fixtures and check for burnt-out bulbs, improving visibility and safety around your home.
5. Test GFCI and AFCI Circuit Breakers:
Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) are crucial for preventing electrical hazards in your home. Test all GFCI outlets, especially those in bathrooms, the kitchen, and outdoors, to ensure they work correctly. Also, make sure your AFCI breakers are functioning to protect against electrical fires.If they don’t trip when tested, they may require replacement to maintain electrical safety.
6. Exercise All Breakers:
Your home’s electrical panel contains circuit breakers that control the flow of electricity throughout your house. Periodically, it’s a good idea to switch each breaker off and then back on. Daylight savings is an ideal time to test because you are already adjusting the clocks.
7. Test Eave Outlets for Christmas Lights:
With the holiday season just around the corner, many homeowners love to decorate the exterior of their homes with festive lights. Before you begin, test the eave outlets where you plan to connect your Christmas lights. This will ensure they are working correctly, making your decorating process smoother.
8. Smoke Detector and Carbon Monoxide Testing:
Smoke detectors are your first line of defence against house fires, and proper functioning is non-negotiable. Fall is an excellent time to replace the batteries in both smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure to test each detector after inserting new batteries to confirm that they are in good working order.
9. Lubricate Garage Door Chain, Rollers, and Spring:
Your garage door works hard, and regular maintenance can prolong its life and prevent unexpected malfunctions. Apply the appropriate lubricant to the garage door’s moving parts, including the chain, rollers, and spring. This will help keep the door operating smoothly and quietly.
10. Clean Bathroom Fans:
Bathroom fans play a crucial role in maintaining good air quality in your home, and removing damaging moisture from the air. They can accumulate dust and debris, leading to reduced efficiency. During your fall maintenance routine, remove and clean the fan covers, vacuum the blades, and wipe them with a lukewarm damp cloth. This will ensure your bathroom fans continue to operate effectively.
11. Change Furnace Filters:
As you prepare your home for the colder months, don’t forget to change the filters in your furnace. Change your furnace filter at least every 90 days. A dirty furnace filter can prevent airflow through the furnace to the rest of the home. This means your furnace will work overtime, leading to less efficiency, and decreasing the life of your furnace. Clean filters allow for better air quality, improve your heating system’s efficiency and prolong the life of your furnace.
12. Yearly Furnace Service/Maintenance:
In addition to changing the furnace filter, schedule annual maintenance for your furnace. Annual maintenance is not just a good idea, it’s often required by the manufacturer to maintain your warranty. A professional service technician can inspect and clean your furnace, ensuring it operates efficiently during the heating season. (This service is different from having the HVAC ducts cleaned. Although having your air ducts cleaned is recommended, having your furnace inspected and serviced is essential to extending the life of your furnace.) A technician can adjust the furnace to ensure it performs at its peak efficiency.
13. Yearly Water Heater Maintenance:
Flush your hot water tank every 6 months to a year. Most communities in Alberta enjoy hard water and therefore have mineral buildup in their water heater. Draining the hot water tank removes sediment that builds up in the tank. This prevents the sediment from corroding the heating components, extending the life of the water heater.
A tankless water heater also needs to be flushed regularly, particularly in areas with hard water such as Calgary, Edmonton and Red Deer. Schedule a tankless water heater inspection every year to extend the lifespan of your tankless water heater.
14. Check Humidifier Filters:
For homeowners with built-in humidifiers, inspect and clean or replace the filters. Clean filters are essential to maintaining proper indoor humidity levels during the dry winter months. This not only improves your comfort but can also prevent damage to wood furniture and flooring. Because of the hard water in Alberta, humidifiers will collect minerals faster than other areas of the world with soft water.
15. Test Fireplace Switch:
A cozy fireplace can provide warmth and ambiance during the colder months. Before you light the first fire of the season, test the switch or control mechanism for your fireplace. If you flick the switch and nothing happens, a new switch or wires may need to be replaced.
16. Inspect Weather Stripping:
Inspect the weather stripping around all exterior doors and windows. Look for signs of wear, damage, or gaps that may have developed over time. One of the primary benefits of weather stripping is its ability to reduce drafts. Drafts can make a room feel chilly and uncomfortable, leading to the need for higher heating settings. Weather stripping helps eliminate these drafts and saves energy consumption.
17. For Mobile Homes: Test the Outdoor Receptacle for Heating Cable Sets:
If you live in a mobile home, testing the outdoor receptacle for heating cable sets is essential. These cable sets (also known as heat tape) are used to prevent freezing, and ensuring the receptacle is in working order is crucial to avoid cold weather-related issues.
18. For Mobile Homes: Test for Leaking to Prevent Sewer Line Freeze:
Mobile homes often have exposed or less insulated plumbing components, making them more vulnerable to freezing than traditional homes. Sewer lines, which are typically located below or near the surface, are particularly susceptible to freezing when leaks or damaged pipes allow water to accumulate inside.
Follow this homeowner maintenance checklist during fall daylight savings. Ensure that your home is safe and ready to face the challenges of the colder months. Regular maintenance protects your investment but also provides peace of mind.