Autumn is an odd time of year in Australia. Unlike America, our season isn’t heavily linked to pumpkins and the fall aesthetic. That’s why Jim’s Plumbing wants to promote autumn home maintenance!
The midseason change from hot to cold presents a perfect time to tackle odd jobs and big tasks. It’s a great time to make sure your home is in top shape. Whether you’re prepping the lawn, cleaning the gutters or replacing smoke detectors, here’s a handy checklist for all your autumn jobs and home maintenance tasks.
Clean the Gutters
Brightly coloured falling leaves are a beautiful addition to any streetscape, but not so much your gutters. Plant and garden matter is going to quickly build up so you want to regularly inspect and clean your gutters ahead of any major downpours.
Blocked gutters will cause long term problems if there’s overflowing rainwater. Water will enter the roof or ceiling space, and can also seep into walls. Signs of water damage include damp spots or rings, mould, peeling paint and roof leaks.
The autumn and winter months are also perfect for maximising rainwater collection. Therefore, you want clean gutters with no potential health hazards like animal droppings or decaying plant debris. Rainwater flow will also be impeded due to clogged gutters or downpipes.
Also pay close attention to stormwater drains and downpipes around the home. It’s not just the gutters that need to be cleared. Tidy up leaves or grass clippings around the yard and driveway to reduce flood risks.
Meanwhile, if you have a multi-storey house or just don’t want to climb, contact a licensed roof plumber to assist in gutter cleaning.
Book a Heating & Cooling Service
Taking care of your home’s climate control is a two-pronged approach throughout autumn. On one hand, you’re shutting down the air conditioning, and on the other firing up the heating.
Certain systems like a ducted reverse cycle unit or split system air conditioner are quite simple. One service will look after both. Many evaporative coolers will also require a winter shutdown.
However, if you have a fireplace, gas log fire or gas ducted heating with a flue, there will be some additional work. And it’s incredibly important to make sure your house is safely ventilated via a chimney or flue and is not at risk of gas or carbon monoxide leaks.
When it comes to preparing your heater for winter, common service tasks include:
- Fireplace, chimney and flue cleaning
- Clearing soot and debris from gas pipes
- Pilot light checks and tests
- Gas leak detection and carbon monoxide testing
- Filter cleaning
- Gas ducted heating vent cleaning
- Parts replacement
Repair Roof Leaks and Damaged Roofing
The last thing you want is a nasty leak in the ceiling this winter. That’s why you want to remove any openings for water to seep in and fix up potential concerns. Autumn is the perfect time to prevent costly issues in the future.
Alongside a beneficial gutter clean, check the roof for holes, damaged tiles or rusted metal sheets. Damaged flashing, dried up mortar or bedding and even missing roof tiles will all be a major concern once wet weather hits.
Faults can be inspected internally from your roof’s crawl space. Or, call in a professional roof plumber for a detailed inspection. They can also organise any prompt repairs before demand goes through… well goes through the roof.
In the worst case, it’s also a good idea to consider any major roofing tasks now. Winter is certainly not the time for it. But if you plan ahead now, you can either sneak in work throughout autumn or book in a local roofer for spring or summer repairs and restoration.
Service the Hot Water System
The season of hot showers is here! And one autumn job should be servicing your hot water system. That ensures it will be ready for the cooler nights and brisker mornings of winter and spring. You can then spend countless hours in a steaming hot shower (but not in one go, please).
A professional service is the best way to give your water heater attention. Otherwise, the weather forecast will be cold, miserable showers.
Some of the most likely tasks during a hot water service include:
- Testing the thermostat
- Sacrificial anode replacement (storage tank)
- Gas leak detection
- Flushing the system (storage tank)
- Thermocouple maintenance
- Insulation replacement
- Leak repairs
Always be ready for a job that could be quick and simple, or a touch longer. Luckily the team from Jim’s Plumbing will always be ready to replace a hot water system on the same day you call.
Insulate Plumbing and Pipework
Winter temperatures often drop to freezing. There may be more or fewer days of cold snaps, depending on where you live. The sharp changes in conditions can severely impact pipes and plumbing. And believe us, you don’t need snow for a pipe to freeze and burst.
Insulation is the best way to prevent disastrous plumbing problems in winter. Water flowing throughout your exterior pipework will be at risk of freezing and expanding in frigid conditions.
Plumbing and external pipework around the house should typically be insulated when installed. A plumber should provide insulation for hot water system plumbing at the very least.
But these materials will wear down over time. If you do start to notice any insulation breaking down, you can easily purchase new tubing from your local hardware store.
You’re more likely to notice internal drafts with cooler weather. And those frosty drafts in the evening can really dampen your mood and stop a good time dead in its tracks. No one wants a crisp breeze sneaking through windows and doors. Your heating system won’t like it, that’s for sure.
If there is cold air making its way into your home, your heating will be wasting energy while combatting the contrasting temperatures. That costs money on energy bills.
A quick fix is to block gaps underneath doors with a door draft stopper. Another option is wedging old rags underneath doors. Meanwhile, worn out seals surrounding windows can be fixed with a fresh lick of sealant from the hardware store.
You can also retain heat inside your house by sealing cracks and unused vents.
Perform Electrical Safety Checks
There’s never a bad time to make sure your home’s electrical safety is up to scratch. And one necessary autumn job should be to inspect your powerpoints, power cords and electrical switchboard. You want to prevent the worst case scenario of electrical fire or damage.
If you notice any scorch marks or damage to powerpoints, contact an electrician for a prompt replacement. Meanwhile, if your extension cords or appliance cords are damaged, remove and update with brand new equipment.
Contact a licensed electrician for switchboard servicing. They will test your safety switches, circuit breakers and overall condition of your home’s wiring.
Your trees and shrubs are likely entering a period of winter dormancy. Autumn’s a better time than ever to tackle the job of pruning and trimming. Growth is slowing and you want to let plants thrive without literal dead weight hanging on.
Potentially dangerous tree limbs should be trimmed or removed before severe storms hit. The last thing you want is a giant limb falling in the yard when family or friends are around. The risk of household damage is also too high. Just keep things neat and tidy before bad weather strikes.
There will be plenty of minor gardening jobs in autumn, too. But maybe you can give the kids some pocket money and ask them to rake the leaves, or teach them to mow the lawn!
Complete Your Other Household Tasks
Remember all those jobs on your summer to-do list? All the great things you wanted to achieve in the new year? Now’s the time to finish them!
Whether it’s a lingering repair, changing a light bulb or painting the walls, get it done before winter takes away your motivation. There’s a lot you can do while the days are still long.