Sep 152012

Fall Season Maintenance

September has always been the transition month from summertime maintenance to fall maintenance.  In most of the country, subscribers are feeling the cooler mornings, a reduction in daylight hours, peaceful evenings making it hard to remain indoors.  The blistering summer heat is over and now is the time to get ready for colder weather.  September seems to be the perfect month to leave the windows open and let the fresh air in.  With temperatures staying in the tolerable range, it is easy to turn off the air conditioning let the gentle wisp of Mother Nature run through the house like a welcome kiss from the heavens.

Now is also the time to prepare homes for harsher weather that is sure to follow in the weeks ahead.  Checking exterior areas around the home is important in the final weeks of September.  Be prepared for the surprise drop in temperature.  Review this month’s inspections and conduct the outdoor inspections to include inspecting your foundation, roof, gutters, and winterizing your home.

Of the three, winterizing may be the most important.  Review the checklist closely and protect your home from winter’s fury.  If you disconnect and drain your garden hoses you will save the cost of replacing them should the first freeze come in late September or early October.

Checking roofs and gutters will pay off with the first snow.  Leaves collected in gutters often block downspouts which causes water to back up in the gutter and pour over the sides.  The problem is the inside, not necessarily the outside.  As water pours over the inside of the gutter, it can flood under the shingles or onto and behind the fascia.  Damage is then sustained throughout the winter as snow melts and rain comes continually depositing moisture on and behind the wood.  Then comes the mold, insects, wood rot, and damage to the soffit.  In severe cases, the water can back up into the insulation in the attic and destroy walls and ceilings.  The simple act of cleaning gutters in the fall will eliminate the risk of damage to homes.

Ladder Safety

When was the last time an inspection was performed on your ladder?  We keep the ladder inspection checklist up all of the time.  For convenience we have included it here.

Ladder – Portable
If the answer is “yes” to any of the questions below, make repairs before using the ladder.
General Inspection (all ladders)
1. Are there loose steps or rungs (should not be able to move a rung by hand)?
2. Are there loose fasteners such as nails, screws, bolts, or other materials?
3. Are there cracked, split, broken, rust or decayed uprights or rungs?
4. Are there slivers (metal or wood) on uprights, rungs, or steps?
5. Are there rungs missing?
6. Is grease, oil, or slippery material on steps or rails?
7. Do movable parts jam or scrape when operating?
8. Is the base (non-skid) material missing?
1. Is the ladder wobbly or does it appear to be asymmetrical (not sit squarely on the ground)?
2. Are the hinge spreaders loose or disconnected at both ends on all rails?
3. Is the hinge on each spreader fastened loosely or missing in the center creating a wobbly or loose connection from rail to rail?