(Family Features) The calendar pages may be turning fast, but it’s not too late to take advantage of late summer warm temperatures and do some work around the house. Now is the time to wrap up home improvement projects before the weather turns too cold.
Consider these five easy DIY tasks that can set you up for a warm, safe and pest-free fall:
Perform routine HVAC maintenance. Heating and cooling systems need regular service to operate at peak efficiency. Some tasks are best left to the pros, but there is plenty you can do on your own to minimize expenses and ensure your unit maintains its performance level. With the breaker and gas off, wipe the exterior of your furnace with a damp rag then remove the access door and vacuum the burners, base and blower compartment. Remove and clean the blower with a vacuum and small brush then use a drinking straw to blow dust off the pilot. Also inspect the flame sensor, drive belt and air filter, and clean or replace as needed.
Air seal drafty areas. The gaps around windows and door frames give unwanted air an open invitation into a home. However, you can quickly and easily block the flow of air for greater comfort and lower energy bills. If the doors and windows are already finished, start by removing the trim. Prep the area by removing dust and debris. Using a quality sealant, apply the foam to fill in about 50 percent of the gap around the window or door and framework, allowing room for the foam to expand. Wipe away imperfections and let sit 10-15 minutes until it’s no longer tacky. Gently press the expanded foam into the gap using a putty knife.
Check for damage to hardscaping. Walkways, patios, and decks are all susceptible to wear that can lead to tripping hazards or allow rain, snow and ice to seep in and create larger problems. Take time to thoroughly assess these hardscape features and identify issues like loose stones and cracks in concrete that need repairs. Securing materials, filling cracks and patching problem areas can help prevent further damage during the colder months while restoring aesthetic appeal.
Inspect your home’s exterior. Many elements of your home serve essential roles in protecting your safety, regulating your home’s efficiency, and preventing damage. It’s important to regularly check your roof for signs it needs to be repaired, such as missing or cracked shingles or noticeable sagging. Gutters can also accumulate a great deal of debris from falling leaves. Clearing these before cooler temperatures set in can help ensure rain has a clear path away from your house, protecting the walls and foundation. Also, pay attention to other elements like paint that may require periodic updates to maintain its protective function.
Eliminate entry points for pests. When temperatures start dropping, you’re likely to see some movement with creatures who want to enjoy the comfort of your home. Make it clear they’re not welcome by sealing up places they may be creeping in. For small fixes, consider a solution like Great Stuff Pestblock Insulating Foam Sealant lets you fill gaps and openings with a quick bead of foam. (For a more permanent solution, professional spray foam insulation installation can dramatically decrease unwanted visitors. Check out this article to learn more.)
For some more ideas, we’ve got a more comprehensive list here. If you need professional Tulsa spray foam insulation installed, we’re ready to help.