Archive for August, 2013

Top 10 Tips for Preserving your Sanity and the Integrity of your Home this Fall

Posted on 30 August 2013 | Category: Tips

Our good weather days are numbered. Fall storms bringing both high winds and heavy rains are on their way. Here are the top 10 things you can do to protect the investment in your home and keep your family safe and comfortable.

1Touch-up Exterior Caulking and Painting

The primary defense your house has against the Chicago weather is a good, solid seal. A tight house is achieved through good construction and a solid shell of quality paint and caulk. If there are signs of split or peeling paint you can be sure that moisture has and will continue to penetrate that seal leaving your house vulnerable. Be sure to get these areas touched up with a good quality paint before the weather turns. Our painters are ready for your call.

2. Gutters, Downspouts and your External Watershed

When the fall storms hit, having correctly sized gutters and downspouts are the first step in taking this tremendous amount of water away from your home. From there, the water must exit this system and flow away from your foundation. If not, you are probably due for — or have experienced — some type of basement flooding. If you have any doubts about your gutter system, call for a free assessment.

3.  Fences and Gates

If one of your fence posts has rotted and become broken and loose, the chances are that a large section of fence is ready to fail with the next storm. Especially if the wind hits your fence directly head-on then — well, that’s when the frantic calls come in and the horror stories are told, of how the fence came down and damaged the neighbor’s car, let their dogs escape, crushed your elderly neighbor’s prized rose brushes, etc. Avoid these issues, call now for a free estimate on the repair or replacement of your fence.

4. Foundation / Cement Work

Cement cannot be poured when the temperature is below freezing. Our foundation repair specialist tells me they are just about booked for the fall/winter season. Foundation and cement issues need to be handled now — or it looks like you will have to wait until next year. Not really something you should be crossing your fingers about.

5. Install Lucite weight-reinforced window well covers.

If you have window wells and do not have the appropriate rain covers over them, you can have a real trouble area. The drains in the bottom of window wells are usually clogged, covered with leaves or susceptible to a wind-swept plastic bag and when the sudden water event happen these drains can easily become overwhelmed. Once overwhelmed, they begin to fill up with water and then spill into your basement window and flood your basement. A special Lucite reinforced cover will allow light to be let in, it will keep water out and its incredible strength will not allow anyone to fall in. A “must have” for Chicago-area basements. Call us for a free estimate.

6. Domed Drain Caps

If you have drains below grade (below the surface of the earth), chances are they were installed with a flat drain cap. We find these to be an unacceptable solution and recommend a domed drain cap whenever possible. This will lessen the chance of this drain being covered up by leaves, a plastic bag or some other natural debris. Many, many basement floodings could have been avoided by installing this simple product.

7. Power Wash

There is nothing like a good fall power wash to keep your home looking its best through the winter. Once the cold weather hits, it will be too late to get your house clean and any dirt or mildew will be frozen there until spring.

8. Clean Ductwork

If you have an HVAC system, turning on the heat means blowing the air you breathe through your ductwork. In new construction or remodeling, over time the bottom of your ductwork gets filled with building materials, dirt, pet dander, dust, etc. Condensation collects on this matter and can form a soup of gross, nasty, organic growth. And this is what the household air you breathe passes through before it reaches your family’s lungs. Do yourself a big favor and get this cleaned out before the heating season begins.

9. Windows/Doors

If you need window and door replacement or repair, now is the time to fix or order your new doors and windows. The cold weather will be upon us quicker than you think and manufacturers are already getting behind on orders.

10. Holes

Any weakness in the wood or exterior of your house will invite animals into your home this fall. Squirrels love to chew away the rotted wood and enter your warm soffit, fascia and attic system. In addition, over the last few years carpenter bees have penetrated fascia woodwork and laid eggs — woodpeckers now have discovered this food source and are pecking away vast quantities of wood to eat these eggs and then birds, squirrels and racoons take advantage of this scarred wood and move in. These calls start right around Thanksgiving and continue all winter.

Have a question about these tips? Or  need repairs or maintenance to get your home ready for the warmer weather? Talk to Get Dwell we would be happy to help.