Ready for Heating Season?

Autumn is coming!

Autumn is coming!

I’m up early watering my flowers this morning, and it occurs to me that I will need to swap some of the summer flowers for fall flowers. Yup, it is chilly this morning! It is 64 degrees, not exactly frosty, but you can sense the change of seasons is coming. Hmm, what is on the fall to-do list? Nothing pressing, we still have some warm weather left, but it is time to make the list.

  • Clean up the leaves! Leaves on the ground are the least of these concerns. Leaves fill your rain gutters, and for some of us, the drain in the basement walk-out. If left undone this is a sure way to flood the old basement. Check with local gutter contractors for specials. I need to clean the gutters twice in the fall, as I have a bunch of trees on my lot.

  • Have the old furnace serviced, and safe operation confirmed. When a gas, or oil furnace goes off, it can leak carbon monoxide into your living space. That can, and does prove fatal far too often! If you have a home warranty, or service plan, it may already be paid for. Heating equipment ( not including fireplaces and chimneys ) also accounts for over 6000 fires and about 140 deaths every year!

  • Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Do not replace the batteries! What?? No new batteries? Not in Maryland anyway. If you have smoke detectors with replaceable batteries, you are not in compliance with state law. Well, if the smoke detector only uses batteries, and it is not wired into the electrical system. Homes built before 1975 had no requirement for an electrical connection. Check the age of them too. The law requires any smoke alarms older than 10 years to be replaced. Newer smoke alarms have a sealed battery that should last for 10 years, and a hush button so you are not tempted to disable it when some cooking is “overdone”.

  • Winterize the exterior water faucets. If you do this by Thanksgiving, you won’t have to worry about frozen, and burst water pipes. That does provide a bunch of mold testing in the winter, but I would just as soon not have to test your home after a burst pipe floods you basement.

  • Have your fireplace chimney cleaned, and inspected. Watch for specials for this one too. According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, fireplaces, chimneys, and chimney connectors account for an annual average of over 23,000 fires. This does millions of dollars of damage to homes, and kills about 20 people every single year!

    Please reply in the comments if you need help dating your furnace’s age, or would like to suggest a topic for a future article.

    Thank you for reading my blog!

Sonny Toman
Owner and Inspector
1st American Home Inspections