Every home needs maintenance and protection from the elements. If you haven't done these things yet, get on it—it's not too late.
Clean and Seal Asphalt & Concrete Surfaces
- Rake away all leaf debris and vegetation from the foundation of your house so little critters don't use your home as a bed and breakfast.
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- Seal up any foundation cracks with a silicone or acrylic latex caulk. Mice can slip through space as small as a quarter of an inch.
- Seal your driveway, walkways, and front stoop with a penetrating sealer every two years. Don't forget the area under your garage door—salt brine often gets trapped there as it drains off your car.
Give Your Fireplace a Checkup
- Over time, creosote, a sticky black substance, can accumulate inside the chimney. If left unattended, it could be a fire hazard
- Likewise, if the spark arrester becomes clogged, the diminished airflow will affect the performance of the fireplace. Have both the chimney and the arrester cleaned professionally (CSIA) once a year. Read our post on Fireplace Maintenance to learn more.
Respect the Roof
- Cut down any tree branches that are hanging over your roof. Not only can branches fall and damage your roof, they can drop leaves into the eaves. Why is that bad? The leaves retain moisture and can cause the wooden sheathing and trusses beneath the shingles to rot. Yikes.
- Melting snow needs somewhere to go, so make sure your gutters and rainspouts are free of debris. Rain gutter cleaning is a good way to prevent unwanted leaks. You can either get on a ladder to clean them yourself (be careful!), or hire a service.
- Install a carbon monoxide detector near your furnace and water heater. Although carbon monoxide poisoning from a furnace is rare, it does happen (170 people die from poisoning every year). The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission explains the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning here.
- You can buy a detector at your local hardware store. But remember, periodically test your carbon monoxide and smoke detectors to make sure they work. Change the batteries twice a year. Do it at the beginning and end of Daylight Savings Time—that's a good way to remember.
- Buy a fire extinguisher or replace an extinguisher that's older than 10 years.
Ryan Homes Tip: Salt and de-icing agents shouldn't be used on your exterior concrete because they cause discoloration and pitting. Break up ice with a shovel (as best you can) and sprinkle sand instead.