Blog

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.

Spring in Richmond

It appears that Spring is trying to make its way to Richmond. We have had several days in the 70’s but are still experiencing overnight temperatures in the 40’s. The good news is that the freezing temperatures are behind us and we can now forget about dealing with frozen pipes and turn our attention to spring based projects. A few thoughts on what to do now that spring is here:

 

  1. Assess how your house has survived the harsh winter months. Take a walk around the house and see if the winter has caused any damage.
    1. Inspect the gutters and downspouts to ensure that they are clean and clear and that water can flow freely. Check the splash blocks and/or any piping that moves the water away from the house for proper water flow.
    2. Inspect the roof from the outside and see if there are any fallen limbs or loose shingles on the roof. Check all the valleys to make sure they are free from leaves and other obstructions. Inside the house walk through the top floor and look for any signs of water staining on the ceilings. Go into the attic and inspect the roof from the inside for signs of water on the underlayment.
    3. Inspect the siding, fascia and soffits to ensure that they are still secure and in place.
    4. Turn on the hose bibs and make sure they are working

 

  1. Start projects that could not be done in the colder weather.
    1. Exterior painting cannot be done when average daily temperatures are not above 50 degrees.   Although most residential painters will be backed up with customer work at the beginning of the spring, now is the time to schedule the painters for your exterior work.
    2. Concrete work is difficult to execute in the winter. Now that spring has sprung, footings for additions, concrete patios, walkways and driveways can be poured. This is one of the busiest times for concrete companies.

 

  1. Get your yard (and garden) ready for the spring
    1. Aerate, seed and fertilize your lawn. Spring is the perfect time to make sure that your lawn is ready for the harsh summer months.
    2. Limb up trees, prune shrubs, and plant bulbs
    3. If you are really ambitious get your garden ready for the growing season! Last frost date in Richmond is typically around April 15th. Early spring vegetables can be planted now. Wait for last frost for planting all others.