Here are five home maintenance tasks you should take care of this November.
With daylight saving time ending the first Sunday of November and the days growing shorter, people will be frequently coming and going from your house in the dark. That, combined with slippery surfaces in damp weather, increases the chances of people falling. Make sure exterior handrails are secured and easy to use. Bigger screws might be enough to tighten a wobbly connection between a rail and its support brackets. If the rail is splintered, sand it smooth or replace it; it’s probably too late in the season to paint. Prune shrubs that cascade over handrails. If steps are slippery, consider adding traction tape, which has sandpaper-like grit on top. Some types come with a reflective strip — a safety bonus!
2. Clean Gutters and Downspouts
All the leaves have probably fallen by now, so it’s time. Clogged gutters and downspouts prevent rain and melting snow from draining safely away, and they let water wick up underneath the roofing, causing the trim boards or even roof sheathing to rot. Start at the end farthest from the downspout, so any leaves over the downspout can keep more debris from flowing into it as you clean.
3. Improve Outdoor Lighting
Ensure that walkways are safely lit. Solar lights with built-in battery-charging panels require no wiring, so they are easy to install. They work even in winter if they get enough sunlight — but that can be a big “if” when the days are short and cold weather makes the batteries operate less efficiently. Especially on the shady side of a house or in areas where winter skies are often cloudy, outdoor LED string lights can be a better solution, provided you have an outlet nearby.
4. Insulate Pipes
If you have bare water pipes running through your crawl space, attic, basement or other accessible place, this is a good time to insulate them. Besides helping to prevent freezing, which could cause the pipes to burst, insulation keeps the water in hot-water lines hotter and helps prevent condensation on cold-water lines in the summer. Hardware stores and home centers sell foam tubes that are easy to install.
5. Winterize Your A/C
TURN IT OFF
Locate the AC electric disconnect switch near your unit and flip the switch to “off.” If there isn’t one, then switch the breaker at the main panel to “off”. By ensuring your AC has no available power, it won’t be able to turn on during surprisingly warm winter days.
CLEAN YOUR AC UNIT
Wash and wipe away dirt, bugs, or bird droppings from your AC unit. Also, clear away any dead grass, branches, and leaves that have accumulated in the area.
CHANGE THE FILTERS
With a dirty and clogged filter, you run the risk of circulating dirt and allergens throughout your home. By changing your filter in the indoor unit before the winter, you’ll be better prepared for improved air quality and efficiency when the winter hits.
CHECK THE INSULATION ON THE PIPES
Check that the foam pipe cover is in good repair and doesn’t expose the copper tubing anywhere. They help protect your AC pipes from cold winter temperatures secure the foam in place where you see any such exposure using duct tape or zip ties.
COVER YOUR UNIT
Covering your AC unit helps protect it from ice, snow, and cold winds. A waterproof vinyl cover works best and can be secured with bungee cords or vinyl ropes.