Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Halloween Is Home Maintenance Time:

Don't Be Afraid!

Spooky sounds and strange odors are part of the season. They are your home's way of telling you that it's ready for some care.

Monsters in the Attic

The fall is a time when many creatures are looking for suitable places to spend the winter. Make sure your roof vents are covered with screens or you may have creepy critters move into your attic where they can create real havoc. Raccoons and squirrels can chew wires and potentially start a fire! It's a good idea to trim trees that are close to your home so that these little "Monsters" don't have an easy path to your roof.

What is that Ghastly Smell?

Now that it's cooler out and our windows are closed, you may notice strange odors that you've not noticed before. Identifying them is key to having a healthy home that doesn't become a graveyard. Let's put on our sleuthing hats and take the mystery away.

Many smells are obvious - like the smell of burning dust coming from your furnace. It's been awhile since it's been used and that burning dust smell is an indication that you should have your annual HVAC tune and clean. A clean and lubricated furnace is much less likely to have an untimely death.

If it's more of a rotten egg smell - don't go down in the basement! Natural gas is odorless, but they add butyl mercaptan to give it that distinctive smell to alert you to any leaks. Go to a neighbor's house and call your gas utility to check on your gas lines and connections. Most utility companies will perform a safety check for little or no cost. Better safe than sorry!

The Haunted Fireplace

Have you smelled burnt wood, but there's no fire? It could be your fireplace. This Ghost Odor may be caused by a poorly sealing damper. The outside air can come back down the chimney, bringing old burnt wood smells with it. Have a qualified fireplace service person clean your chimney and make sure that your damper is in good working order. You’ll get rid of the smells and you might save on your energy bill, too.

Creaking and Groaning

Is it a Ghost wandering the halls?  Goblins trying to open the windows? Most likely, it's your home shrinking and settling.  Wood is dynamic, and it will grow and contract with temperature and humidity changes. Pops and squeaks happen when different materials expand or contract at different rates. This is a good reminder to check your caulking and weather stripping.  Caulk seals will fail because of this movement and will result in a drafty home.

Some noises come from vents for bathrooms and clothes dryers.  They often have dampers at the sidewalls of the house.  These flaps sometimes move and rattle in the wind.  Often, they are held partially open from the buildup of lint.  A good cleaning and lubrication will often stop them from scaring you awake in the middle of the night.

Rest In Peace

Winter is coming, don't let it be a frightening time. Your home can keep you safe and warm. All it asks in return is that you give it a little TLC. Most maintenance can be done by yourself, some should be deferred to a specialized tradesperson. But don't forget, an ounce of prevention equals a pound of cure.