SWFL Custom Homes Blog
Your Critical Fall Home Maintenance List
Summer is coming to a close, and fall’s arrival means we’re entering Florida’s dry season. The drier weather in our little corner of the country means that when it comes to fall maintenance, we don’t need to worry as much about the rain-resistance tasks.
However, there’s still plenty we do need to attend to, and the shift to more temperate weather creates an excellent opportunity to tackle maintenance without complications.
The end of hurricane season should always be followed up with a thorough evaluation of your home’s exterior condition. While some destruction may be obvious in the moment (you just can’t fail to notice a blown-off roof!), other damage may be undetected for a long time unless you go looking for it.
Of course, hurricane season doesn’t officially end until November 30th. If you haven’t already, it’s always a good idea to check that your home doesn’t have any vulnerabilities before another storm rolls around.
Your roof should be given a good once-over, checking for loose or cracked portions, torn flashing, or signs of leaks. Vents and chimney spouts may have been loosened by strong winds, and debris may have been blown into their openings.
Gutters should be cleared out, and any loose sections need to be re-secured. If during the rainy season you discovered that your gutters aren’t draining optimally, now is the ideal time to reroute their spouts or install other drainage solutions.
Exterior siding, light fixtures, electrical equipment, and architectural structures should also be assessed for any damage or weakness. Support columns that were perfectly sturdy before can easily be compromised by the forces of a harsh storm, and any flooding may have left behind water damage in the form of rot or mold.
If you have a deck, you will likely need to re-seal it and repair any loosened portions. The same is true for your driveway and walking paths. These features are subjected to a lot of strain between the massive wind and water loads typical of a hurricane, and they often need more maintenance in South Florida than they would in other regions.
Don’t forget to inspect your foundation for signs of settlement or upheaval. The water-soaked ground of the rainy season can make foundations prone to problems that only get more expensive to resolve over time.
Fall is the perfect season to do some pruning and cleanup in your yard. Fallen branches and built-up debris will need to be removed. It’s also wise to do some preventative trimming, so that you can remove any risky tree limbs before they pose a danger again.
Windows and Doors
All openings in South Florida homes tend to take a battering during hurricane season. This means that your windows and doors (including the garage) will need some special attention to make sure they’re still in good shape. Framing structures may have loosened, as well as caulking or weather stripping.
Check that your windows and doors still sit evenly on their hinges, and that they can close squarely. You might find that you’ll need to do a bit of weatherproofing and repair to restore their original function and prevent any rain or draft intrusion.
Our cool season here in Florida is hardly impressive to folks from up north, but after years of living in a tropical climate, our definition of “cold” is different. It doesn’t take much for us to feel a bit chilly, so once those cold fronts start blowing in, it’s always a good idea to make sure our homes are able to stay warm.
If you have in-window A/C units, they should be covered. Any gaps in their installation should be sealed to prevent cold air from breezing in.
Central HVAC units will need servicing to change air filters and fix any issues there might be with warm air production or distribution. Be sure to check the vents in your home for obstructions and dust build-up.
Water Heater & Plumbing
For perfectly toasty showers, water heater maintenance is a must. They should be drained of sediment, valve-tested, and temperature-adjusted in case you need a warmer setting for the season.
While you’re at it, it’s a smart idea to check the rest of your home’s plumbing system – because the last thing you want to deal with on a chilly day is an uncontrolled leak. Inspect the pipe sections themselves, as well as connection points for signs of deterioration or water seepage. For hidden pipes, look for any visual indications of water damage on the walls and floor.
Vulnerabilities in your attic can cause drafts to blow in and warm air to escape. Identify possible penetration points, such as unsealed roof structures or holes created by animals. This will be the best time to upgrade your insulation and fill in any areas that were neglected in past treatments. For the best level of draft protection, we recommend installing attic stair/doorway insulators to keep the area sealed off from the rest of the house.
Creating Quality Homes in South Florida
Here at Capitol Homes, we specialize in delivering houses that offer the best construction quality on the market. Residents who get a custom home from our team avoid all of the headaches of an older home, which often comes with a long list of maintenance needs.