Now is a good time to make a checklist for fall maintenance tasks to keep your home running smoothly this winter.
Taylor Adams, owner of Holy City Handyman and a Daniel Island resident, can help local families tackle their to-do lists. Adams is a veteran who specializes in general repairs, honey-do lists, Pinterest ideas, and landscape lighting.
Fall home maintenance starts with safety at the top of the list. Smoke detectors need attention when the seasons change. It’s easy to forget about smoke detector batteries – until the neglected device starts beeping at 3 a.m. Adams’ rule of thumb is to always change smoke detector batteries when the time changes.
To upgrade detectors, Adams advised, “I have been telling customers to replace their smoke detectors with new units that come with a 10-year battery installed so you won’t need to deal with 9-volt batteries and ladders every six months. It’s recommended that you change smoke detectors out every 10 years anyway.”
With the time change in the fall, many people look to have landscape lighting installed so it’s not so dark coming home from work in the evenings. Outdoor lighting enhances the beauty of your property and makes your home safer. For security, Carolina Lanterns and Lighting in Mount Pleasant suggests that residents add lighting to any side of the house that would otherwise be in the shadows. Steps, paths, and driveways should be illuminated so that family members and guests can move about easily after dark. The company recommended low level path lights, which spread circular patterns of light to brighten the walkway while highlighting nearby flower
beds, shrubs, and ground cover. Low-level path lights can be used to define the boundaries of long driveways.
If you have a fireplace, fall is the ideal time to invest in a thorough cleaning and inspection. According to realtor.com, maintaining a clean fireplace is the simplest and best way to remove creosote, a byproduct of wood combustion that contains toxins. Eliminating the substance from the chimney and smoke box reduces the risk of a fire.
Adams also suggested that homeowners grab a flashlight and take a look under their homes. “Look for falling insulation and rodent droppings. Mice and rats will get up and nest in your insulation and make an absolute mess of your crawlspace. Most importantly, while under there, look for leaks or wet spots on the wood above your head,” he said.
Adams continued, “If your builder did not install an insulated bag over your backflow valve, I would consider getting one. It’s rare that we get a super cold freeze, but if the valve cracks it is a very, very expensive repair.”
Inspect steps for rotten wood. “If the treads on your steps are rotting or cracking,” Adams explained, “fall is a good time to replace. Many times, stair treads rot because there are no gutters on the house and the dew drips on them everyday and doesn’t allow them to dry out.”
Irrigation drip lines can be one of the culprits of rotting wood; check posts holding up steps especially if surrounding flower beds are heavily mulched.
Adams closed his to-do list with a termite tip. “When you get your termite inspection report, do not put it in a drawer and forget about it. That is [the inspectors’] get out of jail free card if you end up with termites and they had noted the same item year after year and you did not correct the issues.”