Fall Has Fallen

fall leavesFall arrived on Wednesday, September 23rd. The weather is starting to cool and the leaves are falling. As we enjoy the cooler temperatures, our thoughts turn to the many activities and events we enjoy here in Richmond at this time of year.

The Virginia State Fair will run from September 25th until October 4th. Visit the website at statefairva.org for more information.

The Richmond Folk Festival returns on October 6 to Historic Upper Tredegar. Visit the website at richmondfolkfestival.org for details about the many events and musicians.

For more information about events and activities in Richmond visit visitrichmondva.com/. This website offers information about a wide variety of event and activities in the area including plays at the local theaters.

While you are busy planning your weekends, don’t forget that this is also the time to prepare your home for whatever the winter weather will bring.

The following list will provide the areas that need to be checked to protect your home from damage and help with energy conservation.

Change Batteries in Fire Detectors
If your fire detectors are battery powered do not forget to change the batteries. Test all detectors to make sure they are working.

Check Wood Siding, Stucco, or Brick and windows
Check for peeling paint, holes in stucco or mortar, and caulk around windows.

Prepare Decks and Porch for Weather
Both Decks and Porches require maintenance in order to last long and look good. If a deck is discolored or dirty, it should be washed and brightened with wood bleach before adding a protective coat

Winterize Doors and Windows
Seal all holes with caulk and add weather stripping to doors. If light can be seen around the closed door the cold air can get in.

Insulate
All attics and attic access panels or doors should be insulated to keep the heat in. Insulate the crawlspace for added benefits. Check around outlets and switch plates for air coming in through the opening around them. Insulation gaskets can be added to prevent loss of energy. Add a vent seal to dryer vent.

Fireplace
Check the fireplace to make sure it’s clean and the damper is working. If you have not had your chimney inspected this would be a good time to think about calling an expert to check for damage to the flue or buildup of material that could lead to a fire.

Exposed pipes on Exterior or in a Crawl Space
Cover all exterior pipes with insulating wraps or sprays. Shutoff the water to outside if there is a shutoff valve. Drain the lawn irrigation pipes before the first frost.

Test Your Sump Pump

Heating System Checks
Replace filters and have a professional come in to service your units. A professional should check to make sure the thermostats are working properly. Replacing an older thermostat with a new programmable model. If you have a gas furnace, check the pilot light to see if it is lit. You may want to have someone inspect your ductwork for dirt and debris. You can look for holes and loose connections in the attic and the crawl space.

Clean Gutters and Roof
Remove debris from gutters to prevent water from flowing freely to the down spouts.

General House Exterior
Remove leaves and vegetation from the foundation. Caulk or spray foam insulation into holes where pipes and wires enter the house. Inspect any outbuildings such as sheds or garages. Cover your outdoor air conditioner units with protective material to protect from snow and ice. Remove or cover window units. Trim tree branches that are hanging over your home.

Don’t forget to prepare a personal weather kit in case of power outage at any time of the year due to storms or snow.
If all else fails and you lose power keeping supplies on hand to help you through a storm and power outage will help keep you safe. Gather a kit containing: One or two flashlights and extra batteries and candles and matches are essentials. Some suggested supplies would include a battery-powered radio, especially a NOAA radio or two-way device, bottled water, non-perishable food and a can opener.