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Four Fall Essential Home Maintenance Items

September 1, 2017

As cooler weather approaches, the window to take on some of those big home maintenance projects gets smaller and smaller. We’ve taken the time to boil down some of the most common autumn home maintenance items that get overlooked this time of year.

Grading and Downspouts

Proper site grading and foundation drainage strategies can be some of the most commonly overlooked home repair projects. Over time, buried or underground downspouts can accumulate defects that cause clogging. This can lead to overflowing, corrosion, and leaks throughout a home’s foundation and basement. It’s important to catch these drainage defects before cold weather sets in and potentially worsens the problem.

Operating Water Shut-Offs

When a home’s water supply system is in need of repair, you’ll have to shut off the water. Water shut-off valves can be found near the meter (usually in the basement). The shut-offs for plumbing fixtures and supply valves are located closer to appliances or fixtures (ex. Under the bathroom sink).

When repairing leaks and damage, it’s important to remember to shut off the water supply to the problem area. In the case where supply valves are not located near the workstation, you can shut off the water supply to the entire house.

Testing GFCI

Most homeowners have likely noticed the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets in their homes. These outlets have two buttons in the middle (sometimes red and black) and you’ve likely seen one in your bathroom. Their purpose is to shut off power when an unintended current is detected. Testing GFCIs is therefore critically important to home safety.

Testing the GFCI is really simple: just push the test button in the middle of the outlet. This should be followed by a snapping sound that cuts power off from the two plug in connections. This action can be tested with a voltage meter, a lamp, or another plugin device. Once confirmed that the power is off, press the reset button and the outlet power supply should be restored to normal.

GFCI’s are required throughout your home, and can usually be found in the basement, garage, bathrooms, around kitchen faucets, and anywhere within five feet of water.

Changing the Furnace Filter

Last—but certainly not least—on our list is the furnace filter. To stay warm and cozy during those cold frigid months, check the furnace filter regularly and change it when dirt accumulates.

Changing the filter is relatively straightforward and inexpensive. Filters are designed to protect the blower motor from dust and dirt. Once located, simply remove the old filter as instructed and replace it with a new filter. There are many options to choose from, but one of the most common are the standard pleated disposable filters.

Fall is a busy time of year, and there are likely more things to do. That said, remember to start with the basics. Not only will you have a more enjoyable autumn, but when spring is finally sprung, you’ll also have less repairs to worry about. If you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to contact Stratton Home Inspections LLC at 402-509-4807.

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Stratton Home Inspections
Serving Des Moines, IA Council Bluffs, IA & Surrounding Areas
712-281-3080 - Council Bluffs
515-664-4303 – Des Moines
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