The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Need a fall home maintenance checklist to keep yourself on track this season? These 8 tasks will help improve the performance of your home while keeping headaches like rot, ice dams and drafty windows at bay.

Q: As the temperatures start to drop, I’m reminded that there are things I should be doing to get my home ready for fall and the colder Winter temperatures. What should I tackle before Winter?

A: Just like our partner GAF Roofing, Coastal Windows & Exteriors wants you to protect what matters most this Fall. This Fall home maintenance checklist will help you transform home improvement and get your home in tip-top shape for the Winter season and beyond.

Tend to Fallen Leaves in Yard & Gutters

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Feeling overwhelmed by the debris in your gutters and leaves in your yard? These tips can help you tackle this chore as efficiently as possible.

If you discover clogs, remove them before they wreak havoc on your foundation. Clean gutters are essential to the health of your exterior, ranging from your roof to your foundation. Consider roof replacement if you discover these problems. If you do not have gutter covers, you’ll need to manually remove debris after most of the leaves fall.

Note:  We love gutter guards/covers as they keep out all types of debris including pine needles, leaves, roof granules (this is a warning sign you need a new roof btw!).  They sit directly on your existing gutters to give you peace of mind by preventing damages to your home. Nothing but water should be entering your gutters.  If you don’t have them- ask us today!

Keeping safety at the top of your mind, these are some gutter cleaning tips for New England homeowners:

  • Wait for a day when the leaves inside the gutters are dry
  • When using a ladder, never climb above the second to last step and do not extend your reach
  • While you’re tending to your gutters, take the time to look over your roof for damage. Check for issues such as:
    • Missing shingles
    • Curled shingles
    • Moss and algae growth. 
  • After the gutters are cleaned, use a rake with a wider tine spread of about 30 inches and rak in the same direction of the wind.
  • A great tip is to mulch your leaves with a mower, which helps keep your soil healthy. When ready to put your lawn mower away drain the gas and use a fuel stabilizer to keep engine from degrading.

Get Your Furnace Serviced

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Image Source:  Carrier

According to our friends at Cranney Home Services, furnace maintenance is crucial to prepare your home for the Winter. This is especially true with National Grid energy rates increasing over 39% alone, while energy rates across the board will increase up to 75%. Meanwhile, the 2022-2023 Winter forecast of Winter weather calls for frigid temperatures and above normal snowfall.   “An annual furnace inspection will ensure the warmth of your family; prolong the life of your furnace and save money on your winter heating bills.”   Having your furnace inspected and maintained on a yearly basis will save you save money and preserve your furnace through winters for years to come.  Their inspection prolongs the life of your furnace and avoids potential health hazards.  Expect to get:  full examination for major problems, need for any minor repairs which will guarantee all the elements of your furnace work together to heat your home safely and efficiently.  The most important reasons to do a furnace check are to rule out:

  1. Carbon monoxide leaks
  2. Make sure it’s running efficiently to save money on your energy bills
  3. Keeps your warranty valid and reduces costly repairs

Inspect Your Roof for Loose or Missing Shingles (Consider Asphalt, Metal or Solar Roofing Replacement)

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Not only is this important for the general maintenance of your home, but it’s also critical for the performance of the roof.

  • Take a pair of binoculars and look at your roof. If you see curled or missing shingles, it’s time to take action.
  • Missing shingles can result in moisture making its way into your attic space. This can yield mold on the wood rafter beams.
  • Furthermore, missing shingles can ultimately allow energy to escape. This will ultimately result in high energy bills when the temperatures turn cold.

Is it time to get your roof replaced? Consider these 3 roofing options to protect against New England’s winter weather

    1. GAF asphalt shingles provide a lifetime of performance. As America’s #1 shingle, asphalt roofing defends against the elements, including rain, sleet, and snow. The roofing system is engineered to balance attic temperature, lower energy bills and prevent ice dams.
    2. True Nature Metal Roofing is engineered with interlocking panels for maximized wind resistance. Winter storms don’t stand a chance against the defense of a metal roof!  This is also a fire-resistant roofing option, adds home value, improves energy efficiency and snow literally falls off  which is a consideration as we approach the snowy winter season. 
    3. Certainteed Solar Roofing Shingles- launching this Fall! The Apollo® II system is the pinnacle of energy production, using high efficiency low profile lightweight solar cells to capture and convert maximum solar energy generating clean energy without the bulky look of racks and panels while protecting your home from water intrusion.  Didyou know that solar shingles can provide a power rating of 70 watts per solar shingle?

Check Your Windows and Doors for Drafts

The Checklist for New England Homeowners
Image Source:  Bob Villa

Drafty windows and doors can cause energy bills to soar. This is caused by air infiltration, which allows energy to escape and makes your home feel drafty. Check out these 6 Visible Signs of Drafty Windows:

  1. Make sure you check the frames on both windows and doors. Does the window look out of plumb and crooked?
  2. With windows, you’ll find air infiltration through the sash, the sill, and where the sash meets the frame aka meeting rail.
  3. Any cracked window panes?  You can also detect drafty windows and doors by using an incense stick to detect drafts by watching for movement in the smoke.
  4. Also look for any seal cracks or damage in the glass or weatherstripping areas.
  5.  Condensation aka seal failure on the windows or between the panes.
  6. The curtains move when the window is closed.

Think Ahead:  Get Smart and Protect Your Home

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

  • Replace Smoke Detector Batteries.  House fires are more frequent in the fall and winter. Be sure to replace your smoke detector battery.
  • Get a Smart Thermostat.  Consider investing in a programmable thermostat. This can help you save money while saving energy at the same time. Did you know that for every 1 degree a thermostat is set back, homeowners can save 1% to 3% on their annual heating costs?
  • Schedule an Annual Chimney Sweep.  Check your chimney for soot buildup. Have it swept if there is 1/8 inch or more of soot.
  • Arrange for Firewood. If you use your fireplace for heating purposes, get a head start on chopping or ordering firewood.  Store dry firewood at least 15 feet away from your home. This will help reduce the risk of termite infestation.  Consider Vinyl Siding or James Hardie siding installation as it’s termite resistant.

Check for Exterior Siding Damage

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Damage and cracks aren’t always cosmetic problems when it comes to your exterior. There is typically trouble lurking beneath the surface when you find damage to windows, doors, siding, and roofing.  Bob Vila states, “Siding protects your home from the elements, keeping your family comfortable and safe and if your siding has begun to rot or crumble, then it cannot perform its vital role.” You can trust that our vinyl siding will not decay with New England weather.

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

You’ll want to look for the following:

    1. Check for any cracks in your foundation
    2. Rotting, chipped, or loose siding panels and windows trim- Tapping on siding with the handle of a screwdriver can reveal dry rot problems
    3. Gaps around the window frames or seals
    4. Areas where the exterior is missing, exposing your home to the elements.  If insects have gotten into or through the siding, they can not only cause trouble on their own, but the holes they make also allow rain and snow to get into and, eventually, underneath the siding.
    5. Peeling Paint or loose wallpaper inside the home as old siding allows moisture to seep its way underneath the siding and cause significant damage to the interior walls of a home.
    6. Fungus, Mold, or Mildew which may indicate that water is penetrating it and being held inside the wall
    7. Severely Faded Siding which means not only doesn’t have the desired curb appeal but the effective waterproofing of the siding may have also run its course.
    8. Bubbles in the Siding is an indication that water has become trapped and an immediate red flag. The one thing that siding is meant to do is to keep moisture away from the walls under the siding.

Is it time to get your siding replaced? We recommend several options for New England’s climate:

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

  • Foam Backed Vinyl siding brings the benefit of low maintenance and innovative thermal resistance technology. House wrap by Block-It serves as an additional shield to the elements. It wraps around your home and serves to keep moisture out, including snow. This is primarily used during the vinyl siding installation process. Furthermore, foam backing ensures your home is insulated and reduces heat transfer by way of thermal bridging. Click here to read What is House Wrap & Siding Foam Board? The Energy Efficient Superheros with Moisture-Proof Power
  • James Hardie not only brings unparalleled aesthetics, but it can also make your home more energy efficient. Rigid foam is precisely engineered for New England’s climate, all while reducing drafts and air infiltration with HardieWrap. Also approved for many historic districts.
  • Everlast Composite Siding is a great option if you also want  lifetime performance & fade protection warranty-No cracking, no peeling, no painting. Everlast is made from over 60% stone, has no wood fibers and won’t rot, guaranteed.

Keep Insects & Critters out of Your Home

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

When temperatures drop, critters ranging from insects to rodents are looking for a warm spot for the winter.

  • Make sure your siding and foundation is secure as termites are drawn inside by moisture, wood in contact with house foundations, and cracks in building exteriors. According to Orkin, seal any crack or fissure in home foundations or gaps in siding offer termites the opportunity to come inside. Seal any gaps where critters can crawl into your home. Keep in mind that mice only need a tiny entryway to make your house their home. In fact, a mouse only needs a crack of about 1/4th inch to squeeze through! This is about the width of a pencil.
  • Eliminate any wood in contact with the ground as termite problems often occur when wood components of the building are in direct contact with soil.
  • Water should be diverted away with properly functioning gutters, downspouts and splash blocks as having moisture accumulate near the foundation is a magnet to attract termites as they are attracted to moisture and are more likely to infest if the soil next to the foundation is consistently moist.

Choose a siding that is Insect-Resistant as opposed to wood which are vulnerable to wood boring insects, requiring costly and recurring pest control. Never worry about insects feasting on your siding again.

  • Did you know that 35% of your home’s energy is lost through the wall studs? Well not only does foam help with thermal bridging it also helps with termite infestation.  Our foam insulation weatherproof exterior product is treated with a safe insecticide that protects your home from termite damage. Most people don’t know they have a problem until it’s too late. Rest assured and have peace of mind as this product not only saves energy but it protects your home from future termite damage.  This treated foam doesn’t just repel the insects it kills BEFORE they can inflict any damage.

Prevent Ice Dams

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Ice dams are another major challenge that homeowners face in cold weather. Ice dams form when your attic space is too warm, which makes the snow melt off your roof and collect in the gutter. From there, it freezes and ice dams will form.

Worse yet, dripping water from melted ice dams can collect on your porch or driveway and re-freeze, causing serious tripping hazards.

How do you prevent ice dams? Consider the following:

  1. Ensure your attic doesn’t get too warm in the winter. It should be about the same temperature as the outdoors.
  2. Make sure your roof is property ventilated. You need cold air flow through your attic in the winter to achieve the correct temperature for ice dam prevention. You should have the proper intake and outtake of air.  Check that you have proper soffits and ventilation.
  3. Seal off air leaks or gaps that can interfere with the temperature inside your attic.
  4. It is important that your roof has a breathable underlayment and at least 6’ of ice and water shield. This prevents any water from entering the home.
  5. If your roof is old and underperforming, get it replaced now! This is a surefire way to prevent ice dams for many years into the future.

Invest in Energy Efficient Products

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

When was the last time you upgraded your windows, vinyl siding, or roofing? These exterior elements can make an incredible difference in the appearance and performance of your home. This is even the case for your work at home office and home school setup!

These are our top tips for selecting energy efficient exterior products this fall:

  • Install quality vinyl windows with triple pane glass and argon or krypton gas inert. This helps to insulate your home and reduces heat transfer. Meanwhile, an application of Low-e on the windows will allow the sunlight to naturally heat your home. This can result in increased energy savings all year long.
  • Energy efficient entry doors not only provide enhanced home security and lower your year-round energy bills they add that beautiful curb appeal.
  • Install quality GAF asphalt roofing such as GAF roof replacement products. This roofing system is engineered with performance in mind, including essential ventilation that prevents ice dams during the winter.
  • Install quality True Nature metal roofing for complete protection from New England’s harsh winter climate. With an advanced interlocking system, this roof is engineered to withstand even the strongest winter storms. 
  • Certainteed Solar Roofing Shingles- The Apollo® II system uses  high efficiency low profile lightweight solar shingles to capture and convert maximum solar energy into reusable energy for your home!
  • Install quality foam backed vinyl siding with insulated panels. This insulation prevents heat transfer through the wood studs and it is a large source of energy loss, otherwise known as thermal bridging. In fact, this area of your home can result in 25% of its energy loss!
  • Install quality James Hardie siding that comes equipped with HardieWrap and rigid foam insulation. Each product is designed to keep your home protected from the elements while insulating the interior.
  • Everlast Composite Siding is a great option if you also want  lifetime performance & fade protection warranty-No cracking, no peeling, no painting. Everlast has no wood fibers and won’t rot, stronger than vinyl to withstand high-speed winds and bitter snows, does not expand and contract in the cold, and you can get any color you want.

Consider investing in energy efficient exterior products to help save more energy this winter. Homeowners can save significantly on utility bills by upgrading to Energy Star certified windows and other home exterior products.

Protect What Matters this Fall With New Windows, Roofing, and Siding

The Checklist for New England Homeowners

Looking for information on how to finance home improvements? We can help with financing. We also offer excellent promotions and 0% financing is always available! 

We hope you found these fall home maintenance tips helpful. Use these tips to continue saving energy all year long. Contact us at info@mycoastalwindows.com for additional excellent home maintenance tips ideas and to set up your free estimate.  Call us at 978-304-0495.