Fall is a good time to take care of big home repair projects before shorter days and harsher conditions in the Omaha area make outdoor work too difficult. Tick these 15 items off your list this season, and you can rest easy knowing that your home and yard are buttoned up and ready for winter.
Todd Tevelde, owner of Tevelde And Co. says the fall is a great time to boost the energy efficiency of your home and prevent damage from winter storms with proper tree care. Follow these 12 fall home maintenance steps to protect your investment for years to come!
1. Care for trees and shrubs on your property. If you have trees on your property, consider hiring a local Omaha arborist to care for them — they know how to prune properly to avoid falling limbs in winter storms. Tevelde explains that it’s common for neglected trees to cause damage to roofs, gutters and siding throughout the calendar year.
2. Rake leaves. Leaves look beautiful blanketing the ground, but leaving too many leaves on a lawn over winter in a snowy area can inhibit spring growth. To make the job easier, choose a lightweight rake, wear gloves to protect your hands. Christopher Slater, a project manager with Tevelde And Co. is a huge fan of handheld “leaf scoops” to bag leaves quickly. Slater is known across the Omaha metro area as one of the fastest leaf baggers around.
3. Clean gutters and downspouts. Tevelde And Co. are proponents of installing leaf guard type systems to prevent gutters and downspouts from clogging. If you don’t have a a guard system in place, wait until most of the leaves have fallen before you clean out the gutters and downspouts. We highly recommend hiring a professional to help. Every year in the Omaha area, you read about someone falling off of a ladder when cleaning the gutters out. Tevelde And Co. has a team in place cleaning gutters out. Tevelde reminds us that clogged gutters, during rainstorms, can cause water to pool and damage your roof or siding.
4. Make exterior repairs. Jeremy Stanislav, Tevelde And Co. project manager, loves long walks on the beach and recommends every property owner do something similar. Stanislav recommends taking a walk around your property, looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation. If you spot anything that needs repair, schedule it with Tevelde And Co. or a maintenance company before winter weather hits. You’ll be glad you did!
5. Seal gaps where critters could enter. Mice and bats need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry — and with colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home. Fill small holes and cover any larger gaps securely with heavy-duty hardware cloth to keep the wildlife outdoors. The Nebraska Humane Society has seen an increase in bat activity in the Omaha area. Sealing up small holes was their #1 advice for keeping them out of your home!
6. Check walkways, railings, stairs and the driveway for winter safety. When the landscape is covered in ice and snow, just walking from the driveway to the front door can be quite a challenge. Make navigating around your home safer by checking that all stairs are in good shape and have sturdy railings, and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling. Tevelde And Co. has a crew that will survey your property and make the necessary repairs to railings, stairs, etc.
7. Stock up on winter supplies
-Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers; replace as needed
-Pick up a bag of pet- and plant-safe ice melt, if needed
-Restock emergency kits for car and home
-If you use a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel
8. Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses. Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets before the weather dips below freezing. Drain hoses and store them indoors. Omaha plumbing companies are flooded with calls every winter from panicking homeowners. Don’t be that homeowner! Take the time now to shut off all exterior faucets.
9. Add weatherstripping. Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors helps boost winter warmth and cut energy costs. Add door sweeps to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out.
10. Check safety devices.
-Test smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; replace batteries as needed.
-Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and replace if needed.
-If you haven’t checked your home for radon, fall is a good time to do so — as the weather gets cooler and windows stay shut more often, radon is more likely to become trapped in your home.
-Radon at high enough levels is extremely harmful, so if you find that your home has radon (a radon level of 4 or above is considered unacceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency), hire a contractor qualified to fix radon issues.
11. Clean dryer vents. As a former Omaha firefighter, this topic is near and dear to Todd Tevelde. Lint buildup in dryer vents can make your dryer work less efficiently and even cause a fire — cool, dry fall weather increases static electricity, which can ignite lint that has built up, so now is a key time to get that lint out. You can hire a duct cleaning specialist to clean the vents for you, or clean the vent yourself. Tevelde says you would be shocked at how flammable dryer lint really is. There’s a reason campers take lint, as a fire starter, on camping trips.
12. Schedule a chimney cleaning and heating system maintenance. Making sure your chimney a maintained and in working order before you need to turn on the heat is an important safety measure. Trey Tevelde says it’s an easily forgotten home maintenance regimen that could save your home some day. And Trey says to be sure to add a chimney cap if you don’t already have one — it will stop critters from crawling down your chimney! Any of the project managers at Tevelde And Co. can help schedule a new chimney cap to be installed.
Tevelde And Co. is an award winning company locally owned and operated in Omaha. Tevelde And Co. specializes in roofing, siding, gutters, windows and painting. Whether you tackle this fall home maintenance checklist on your own or call a professional like Tevelde And Co., just make sure it gets done!