Home Care Library
Top 5 Tasks for November
The top 5 maintenance tasks that we recommend you do in November are:
- Test Electrical Surge Protectors
- Clean and Inspect Gutters and Downspouts
- Drain Your Outside Water Faucets
- Remove Debris From Basement Window Wells
- Replace Furnace Air Filters
TEST ELECTRICAL SURGE PROTECTORS
With winter storms come the potential for electric power interruptions and spikes. You should have added surge protectors to all of the sensitive electrical equipment in your home, such as computers, printers, fax machines, television sets, digital video recorders, etc.
Having surge protectors is cheap insurance for protecting these types of expensive equipment.
But having surge protectors is not enough. You also need to test your surge protectors to be sure that they are working properly, and that they are prepared to protect your equipment in the case of a power spike in your home. The manufacturer of your surge protector will indicate specifically how to test their particular model of surge protector (see types, costs, and reviews of surge protectors).
CLEAN AND INSPECT GUTTER AND DOWNSPOUTS
Whether you clean the leaves from your roof gutters yourself, or have a professional service do it for you, it is important that you inspect all of your downspouts to ensure that they are directing the rainwater from your gutters away from your home's foundation. Allow water to pool up next to your home's foundation can create a number of problems, such as causing foundation walls to settle, basement walls to bulge, and moisture to seep through your foundation or basement walls. Water seeping into your foundation or basement can lead to mold and pest infestations, and it also can increase the humidity in your home, which requires you to run your air conditioning harder in the summer and therefore costs you more for electricity.
The find out more about inspecting and caring for your roof gutters and downspouts, you can read our article about it here: 'Why You Need to Keep Rain Away From Your Foundation'
DRAIN YOUR OUTSIDE WATER FAUCETS
If you live in a region of the country where temperatures in the winter can go below freezing, then you should be sure to shut off the water supply to your outside water faucets, and then drain all of the water out of them. Water expands when it freezes, and exerts tremendous force which is more than sufficient to fracture a steel valve. If your water supply is not turned off, then when the faucet valve cracks, you can end up with a flood in your home. You should also be sure to disconnect any hoses attached to your outside water faucets, because if there is water in them that freezes, it can expand back into your faucet valve and cause it to fail.
You can see our article and video on how to drain your outside water faucets here: 'Protecting Your Outside Water Faucets in the Winter'
REMOVE DEBRIS FROM BASEMENT WINDOW WELLS
If you have a basement in your home with outside window wells, then it is important that you clean out all of the leaves and debris that has accumulated inside of the window wells. Build-up inside of your window wells can lead to water penetration into your home, pest infestations, rot, etc. So November is a good time of year to clean out your window wells after the leaves have fallen. Helpful accessory: basement window well covers
REPLACE FURNACE AIR FILTERS
And finally, with the heating season getting underway in November, it is a good time to start changing your furnace's air filter. Changing your furnace’s air filter is important for two reasons: 1) changing your air filter can save you up to $50/year in energy savings, since a dirty air filter makes your furnace’s blower motor work harder and wastes energy; and 2) over time, your furnace’s air filter gets clogged with the dust particles that it removes, and as such, as the filter gets blocked it can’t do its job of cleaning the air in your home (see costs and reviews of various sizes of furnace air filters).
To learn about how to choose the right air filter and the proper way to replace your air filter, you can read our article here: 'Guide to Choosing & Changing Your HVAC Air Filters'
Related Articles . . .
Tips for Electric Outlets & Surge ProtectorsAccording to the National Fire Protection Association, there is an average of 81,000 electrical system fires in homes every year. Here are 20 tips about electrical outlets and surge protectors to protect your family and appliances. more ▶
Why You Need to Keep Rain Away From Your FoundationYour home's gutters and downspouts play a very important role in protecting your home's foundation from water damage. This article explains why and how you should take care of your home's gutters and downspouts. more ▶
Protecting Your Outside Water Faucets in WinterIf you live in a region where temperatures outside can go below freezing in the winter, this article and video shows how and why you should shutoff and drain the water completely out of your outside spigots before the winter. more ▶
Keeping Your Basement Safe and DryWhether you have a finished basement or one that you rarely visit, this article and video tell you what to watch for to keep your basement safe and dry, and also includes ideas for space management. more ▶
Guide to Choosing & Changing HVAC Air FiltersFor saving energy and improving air quality, changing the air filters for your furnace is important. This article discusses: why you should change your air filter; how often to do it; how to choose the right filter; and how to do-it-yourself. more ▶