Houston Home Service Experts

Fall Maintenance (for Houston Homes)

Living in a humid subtropical climate, we don’t experience the same kind of drastic weather changes in the fall as some of the other cities throughout the U.S. But even though Houston homes don’t go through the typical fall and winter seasonal shifts, our weather does change, which presents homeowners with a unique set of challenges. Traditionally we receive the most rain in June, but not far behind is the amount of precipitation we receive in October.

Flooding most frequently occurs in October and November when cold fronts move volatile systems through the state. In addition to rain and cooler temperatures, the humidity greatly affects the weather; impacting our homes and how we live. Universal has put together some fall maintenance tips to help prepare for the upcoming fall and winter in Houston. Check them out and help your household stay comfortable throughout the cooler months.

Outdoor Maintenance

Clean the Gutters – It is important that your storm gutters are clear of debris before the fall rains begin. Throughout the summer, leaves, twigs and debris collect in the gutters and block the flow of water. After you have cleaned out all of the debris, use a hose to spray away all of the remaining dirt.

Chimney Maintenance – Every year it is imperative that you have your chimney professionally cleaned before using it. Make sure that you clean out the fireplace first, removing charred wood and any obstacles that would impede maintenance.

Inspect the Roof – A Houston summer can be pretty rough on roofs. The rain, heat and humidity can cause some heavy damage, especially on an older roof that hasn’t been properly maintained. Inspect your roof for weather damage, yard detritus and missing or loose shingles.

Inspect the Driveway and Deck – The summer can also cause damage to your driveway and deck areas. If your driveway has been cracked or broken, have it repaired before the rain and cooler temperatures can worsen the damage. Commercial driveway filler (found at your local home improvement store) can help with minor cracks while a sealer can help strengthen it for the fall and winter. You will also want to inspect your deck for cracks, rotten areas and other signs of wood damage. If you didn’t apply a sealer for the summer, you might consider applying a coat for the fall.

Heat Pump Maintenance – Many Houston homes have a heat pump instead of a traditional central heat and air system. Make sure that you schedule annual maintenance to insure the unit is working at maximum efficiency throughout the cooler seasons. You will also want to make sure that the area around your condensing unit is free of any debris so that the coil can function properly.

Indoor Maintenance

Furnace Maintenance – If you own a traditional central air system, it should be serviced by a technician twice a year. The A/C component should be serviced in the spring and the furnace should be serviced in the fall, just before the warmer and cooler seasons. You will also want to make sure that you change/clean your HVAC filter every month throughout the fall and winter to ensure the best performance.

Drain the Water Heater – Sediment can build up inside a traditional tank water heater, which can impede efficiency and compromise the water quality. The water heater is traditionally used more in the cooler months, so it’s good to be proactive about it in the fall. Flush out the water in the tank every one to three years.

How to Drain a Water Heater

Test Detectors – More home fires are started in the winter months, which is a good incentive to test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Most models make it easy to test the batteries without formally starting the alarms. Also make sure that there are alarms of each located on every floor (including the basement) and one both outside and inside each bedroom.

Repair Drafts – A good way to get the most out of your HVAC in the fall and winter is to repair any drafts you might have. Drafty windows, doors, outlets, attics, basements and exposed plumbing can all contain costly openings that let air escape. A good way to test for drafts is to use a smoke pen or simply wet a hand to “sense” a leak. Small drafts/leaks can be contained with commercial weather stripping or caulk. If your home suffers from several leaks that you might want to seek the help of a qualified technician to perform and energy audit.

Detecting Air Leaks

Universal Home Experts can help you with all of your fall home maintenance needs. Whether it’s HVAC maintenance, electrical safety or plumbing concerns, Houston turns to us for all of its seasonal service projects. Call us today at (713) 364-0226 and we’ll help you get your home ready for another Houston fall and winter.