Reston Home Insider: A fall checklist for your home

The days are getting shorter, and hopefully we’re in for some nice, crisp fall weather!

Now is a great time to get your home ready for fall and winter — read below for some tips:

Change your furnace filter. This should be done monthly, not just at the change of season, but most people don’t take this simple step, which can save you money by keeping your system running cleanly and efficiently. This is especially important if you have pets. I set up an automatic monthly shipment on Amazon for an added reminder to change it.

Clean your gutters. Clogged gutters are the leading cause of ice dams, which are ridges of ice on the roofline that prevent water from draining properly and can cause water to pour into your home. Clogging can also prevent water from draining away from your home properly via the downspouts. Downspouts should extend 5 feet away from the foundation. Professional gutter cleaning ranges from $75-250 and downspouts are $10-20 each.

Check the quality of your roof. Stay safe and get out a pair of binoculars to check the singles from the ground. Look for any that are missing, cracked or peeling. Have a professional replace those shingles immediately. The black streaks you may see aren’t dirt, but rather algae and aren’t harmful to the roof. If these streaks bother you, hire a professional roof washer who has the proper chemicals to dissolve the algae. Never power wash your roof! It will damage the shingles even on the lowest setting and voids your warranty.

Store your outdoor furniture. Outdoor furniture should be put away each season to keep it looking fresh and prevent damage from high winds and discoloration from rain, snow and even leaves. Outdoor furniture is expensive, so if you can’t store it, consider buying waterproof covers.

Have your fireplace cleaned and inspected. Hire a professional to inspect and clean your fireplace each year. Not doing so can cause creosote to build up, which can cause a chimney fire. Beyond cleaning, have the pro check the firebox and flashing at the top of the chimney to ensure water is being kept out and the overall quality of the fireplace is in good condition. Over time, cracks and poor mortar are expensive to fix; it’s best to catch these fixes early. A chimney cleaning is about $150-250, and the inspection ranges from $80-$250.

Change the batteries in your smoke detectors and check expiration dates. Batteries should be changed every year. Smoke detectors last about 10 years and carbon monoxide detectors for about 6 years. Both have labels with the dates clearly marked.

If you have any questions or want to talk about strategy, please call/text/email. Thanks for reading!

Lynn Cooper is a licensed REALTOR in Virginia with McEnearney Associates in McLean. Whether buying or selling, Lynn is 100% committed to her clients before, during, and after the transaction. Connect with Lynn at 202-489-7894, [email protected] or @lyncooperrealestate.

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