If you have kids, you probably already know that "˜tis the season for back to school shopping, packed lunches and trying to remember math rules that you literally haven't thought about in years. Since the kids are back at school and you have (hopefully) some extra time, now is the time to make sure your systems and appliances are ready for the season change. Of course, all of this maintenance is helpful if you have a home warranty plan on your home, to ensure that any breakdowns are covered.
As the bright colors of fall begin to show, the colder temperatures also arrive. With those temperatures come rain, sleet and hail, which can cause an unprepared home a lot of damage. Here are a few things you can do to make sure the outside of your home is ready for fall.
The first thing to do while preparing for fall weather is to check and see if your roof is ready for the colder weather. Curled, missing or loose shingles can let rain and moisture into your home and cause water damage. You should also make sure that the vents on your roof are sealed properly. If you see any signs of water damage, it's best to call a contractor to see how expansive the damage is and what you can do to fix it. You don't want to find out your roof is weak in the middle of a snowstorm!
You can purchase home warranty plans that cover limited roof leak repair, however, you do have to maintain the roof to get any claims covered.
As leaves fall, it's a good time to inspect your gutters. If your gutters are already full of dead leaves, debris and dirt, it's possible that any water that comes from snow or rain will overflow onto your roof. This can be extremely problematic when the temperatures begin freezing, as it can cause cracks in your roofing, which will leak in the springtime.
You'll want to use your garage more as the temperatures get colder and you'll store your vehicles inside. Lubricate your garage door's springs, chain and joints. Make sure that the batteries for your garage door opener and garage door motor are replaced and check your user's manual to see if there are any specific things you should be doing to keep your garage door in top shape. You can also put weather-stripping along the bottom of your garage door to trap in heat and keep small animals outside. All of Landmark's home warranty plans cover garage door openers, but do not cover garage doors themselves.
The inside of your home is just as important as the outside of your house when preparing for fall. Doing fall maintenance inside of your home will keep you warm and dry through the fall and winter months.
Flush water heater
First thing you should do is flush your water heater. Water heaters build up sediment in the bottom and should be flushed every 6 months to make sure they last for their intended lifespan. If left un-flushed, the heat source can cook the sediment into a heavy brick of minerals and deposits. It not only diminishes the volume of water your tank can hold, but if heavy enough it will cause the tank to leak. Many home warranties do not cover water heater sediment build up, but Landmark covers this in all Premium Plans. You can learn how to flush your water heater in this article. It's the perfect time to flush your water heater because your kids will be at school instead of turning on the water or taking a shower.
Change furnace filter and get a tune up
You'll soon be using your furnace, so make sure the filter you have on your unit is nice and clean. Not only will a clean filter help make sure the air you're breathing is clean, but it will also make your furnace last longer. (Your furnace won't have to work as hard to push air through a dirty filter!) If you have a home warranty plan you can also get your furnace ready for fall by getting a tune up. A home warranty plan from Landmark has tune ups for a service call fee. This tune-up will ensure your furnace is ready to take on the cold months. Tune-ups without home warranty plans can cost at least a hundred dollars.
Fall is the time for warm meals. Thanksgiving is the ultimate food holiday, and that will come up fast after the beginning of school. That's why it's important to complete this kitchen maintenance to get your appliances ready to go.
The worst thing that can happen on a school night is having your fridge stop working. To combat that, during the school day when you don't have the kids searching for snacks, perform some cleaning maintenance on the unit. Remove the shelves, clean out any spills, and then while the food and shelves are out, vacuum the dust and dirt from the condenser coils. Home warranty plans do not cover for appliance maintenance, so it's important to take the time to do this yourself or hire a qualified contractor to do it for you.
Colder temps mean delicious baking and other oven-baked food, so it's important to make sure your oven is maintained and ready for the extra responsibility. It's not a bad idea to pull your oven out from its spot and clean the sides, back and floor underneath the unit. You can find other ideas for maintenance at our blog on Extending your Oven's Lifespan. If you have a home warranty plan, those maintenance tips will make sure you get the most out of your oven before it fails and you have to have it repaired or replaced by a Landmark contractor.
Finally, you know that you have to cook more in the fall, but what about cleaning more dishes? You'll have larger amounts of dishes as you cook more warm foods, so make sure your dishwasher is up for the task. Clean your dishwasher by using plumber-recommended cleaning agents, or using baking soda and vinegar. Proper maintenance is important for a dishwasher to be covered by a home warranty plan.
If you're interested in getting your systems and appliances repaired or replaced for a small $60-$100 service call fee, check out our home warranty plans, or learn more about home warranties on our main page.