Preparing for Winter
As the cold season slowly descends on our Southern California home, there are a few things you should have on your maintenance schedule to ensure a safe and worry-free winter season.
Furnace Maintenance & Fireplace Inspection
A poorly maintained and/or inefficient furnace could be costing you huge amounts of money and could prove to be a safety risk. We highly recommend that annual service be completed by a certified HVAC or another heating specialist. Some of the main things they should do in this annual service include but are not limited to the following: 1- Replacing the furnace’s air filter 2- Cleaning its burners 3- Clearing vent lines 4- Checking for any small leaks 5- Cleaning its exterior 6- Monitoring its efficiency and performance
To be sure that all of your systems are in working order and operating as they should, it is recommended that homeowners get an annual chimney inspection. The specialist will generally open and adjust your damper, caulk the flashing on the roof if needed, and clean & adjust the fireplace screens & doors. They will also usually check the condition of the chimney spark arrestor and clean the fire chamber. Most chimney sweep companies will put you on an annual inspection plan once you work with them. During this inspection, they will tell you if it’s time to sweep. Many homeowners opt to have a chimney cleaning done every year as well at this time, especially if they use their fireplace on a regular basis.
Problematic attics can lead to health hazards and/or expensive repairs mostly caused by water or mold damage. Inspecting an attic doesn’t take long and requires almost no specialized expertise.
The main thing you should be looking for are signs of water damage. Is any wood warped or water stained? Are there any wood surfaces that are cracked or sagging? If the answer to either of these is “yes,” you should contact a roofing/attic specialist immediately. Water seepage is akin to slow-acting poison for a home’s structure. Make sure to pay special attention to areas around chimneys, roof vents, and skylights for signs of water damage as they are often quite vulnerable. Proper ventilation is also key in an attic. If there are any roof vents, blockages caused by nests or leaves are common. Make sure to clear these out by hand. Furthermore, make sure that all of the pipes and ductwork that run through the attic are properly connected and are correctly venting to the outside. If you have an attic fan, make sure you test that it’s functioning properly.
Clogged gutters can wreak havoc on your roof, siding, and foundation. These repairs can be costly. Many homeowners opt into a service contract with a gutter cleaning company that schedules twice a year. We recommend these plans because they are typically affordable and there is potential danger involved with accessing the gutters on many homes. Generally these specialists will get up on a ladder and check & clear the gutters & downspouts of debris. Removing them can often be challenging due to baked on foliage (spring) or frozen leaves (winter) attached to the insides of the channels, so if you are doing this yourself, make sure you have a good ladder and a spotter helping you out. Water is generally run through the system after the channels are cleared. Make sure that all of your downspouts are extended away from the foundation at the ground level. Often, it may be necessary to regrade your soil in some spots so that all water is directed away from your home.
Pests and Inspection
Having a Pest Inspection done once a year will give you the peace of mind you deserve. Professionals will spend some time poking around every corner of your home, crawl space, attic, and yard to give you a full assessment of your situation. If you get a clean bill of health, consider signing up for a quarterly (or more frequent if necessary) preemptive spraying plan to combat any future issues. Generally, the pest experts will spray the perimeter of your home with commercial grade insecticides that will keep your home pest and insect free. We recommend these types of plans because they are generally quite cost effective and save you from the anxiety of having an infestation at some point.
When you’re looking to prepare for any season, check out our specially created vendor page to get the best of the best in the Southern California area. If you’ve ran across our blog and don’t yet live in the Southern California area but would like to, make sure you reach out to us and see about all the help we can give you during your relocation process.