A burst of hot weather last week had Cincinnati feeling more like July than September, but the calendar shows we officially moved into fall territory this week. And, as the weather starts to cool, now is a good time to revisit some important fall maintenance tasks to help protect your home.
As I discussed last November, two of the most important tasks are cleaning your gutters and testing your sump pump.
Let’s start with the easier task, testing your sump pump. Simply remove any debris from the pit and pour in enough water to cycle the pump on. If that works, check it off the list and kick back with a refreshing beverage. If it doesn’t cycle on, you know now that you need to get it repaired or replaced, which is much better than finding it out after your basement floods.
The second task is one of the most unpleasant. No one (I know) likes to clean their gutters. It’s messy. It involves ladders and contorting your body into unnatural positions. However, it’s important. Gutters move water away from your house, decreasing the odds that the water will find a way into your house. If your gutters or drain spouts are clogged, that water can back up onto your roof.
Shingled roofs are designed to shed water down the slope, meaning the shingles are layered so that water flowing down the roof can’t enter your home. However, letting water back up onto the roof gives the water a chance to seep under the shingles and enter your home.
While you are cleaning your gutters (or watching someone else do it for you), take a minute to look at your shingles and make sure none are missing or loose. If so, address this now.
Now is also a good time to pop up into the attic to check your vents and insulation. Many homes in Cincinnati are designed with a “cold roof” meaning the ceiling of your top floor has insulation on it, and there are vents in the attic to allow cold air to flow through the attic. If this system of ventilation and insulation is compromised, it can allow ice to build up at the edges of your roof and trap water on your roof. (For more, see Ice Dams and Water Damage Restoration.)
Another cause of water damage is not disconnecting garden hoses as temperatures turn colder. In older homes, it’s common to find a shutoff valve near exterior faucets. The idea is that you close this valve in the fall and then open the spigot to drain the water in the pipe.
Many newer homes will have frost-proof faucets, which are also called frost-proof sillcocks or frost-proof hose bibs. In simple terms, the sillcock has a length of pipe with the valve at one end and the handle at the other. This means the water is actually shut off on the inside of the house where it’s warm. The other key component is an anti-siphon ‘vent’ that breaks the vacuum in the faucet which, among other things, helps the water to drain out of the faucet when you turn it off.
Frost-proof sillcocks are popular because you don’t have to drain them. They do it automatically unless you have something attached, such as a hose or a quick connector. Leaving these connected can trap water in the pipe between the valve on the inside of the house and the faucet on the outside.
Once temperatures get cold enough that water freezes, expands, and ruptures the portion of pipe inside your walls. However, because there is a relatively small amount of water in that portion of the pipe, you typically won’t know this has happened until the spring when you turn on the faucet. (For more, see this video: What Happens When You Leave Your Garden Hose Attached in Winter)
As a final step in your fall maintenance routine, consider having your carpets cleaned and treated with a stain protector.
While it may seem to counterintuitive to think of cleaning as a preventive measure, consider all the holiday parties that are just around the corner.
And with parties come kids running around and the inevitable spills of wine and Skyline dip.
Extra Effort uses DuPont Teflon to protect all the carpets we clean because it is both safe and effective.
DuPont Teflon repels liquid spills, dust, and dirt, allowing carpets to remain cleaner longer.
Plus, having your carpets cleaned now means one less item on your holiday party to do list.
Questions? I am always available to answer your stain removal questions and concerns. Call us today at (513) 777-8770 to learn more about our carpet and upholstery cleaning services. Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn about this month’s cleaning special.
Elliott S. Fishman, Co-Owner
Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc.
About Elliott S. Fishman
Elliott Fishman, along with his son Brian, is the owner and operator of Extra Effort Carpet & Upholstery Cleaning, Inc. We serve the residents and businesses of Greater Cincinnati to include West Chester, Mason, Maineville, Loveland, Wyoming, Fairfield, Indian Hill, Montgomery, Hyde Park and Anderson Township. Elliott started this company in 1984, based on the belief that it takes Extra Effort to make each job a success. The father/son team puts the extra time, extra care, and extra effort go into every task they undertake – no matter how large or small the job. Extra Effort’s quality equipment, trained technicians and safe products have made the company a top choice for residential and commercial carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, water damage / water extraction, fabric protection, odor control and spot removal.