It’s Fall Y’All!
From all of us at J & R Construction Services, Inc.: “Welcome to Fall, Y’all!”
“Autumn: The year’s last, loveliest smile.” ̶ William Cullen Bryant
Aside from the cooler temperatures and beauty of the turning leaves, fall brings opportunities to ensure that your house is ready for winter. J & R President and CEO James W. “Jimmy” McKinney, III, says, “Fall is the perfect time to clean gutters and check the exterior of the house before winter sets in.” After those beautiful and vibrant leaves have fallen from the trees, clean out the rain gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams, which can cause damage to the roof and siding, even the insulation underneath. For these reasons, it is more cost effective to replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards, which will provide long-term protection to your home.
Aside from the roof and gutters, there are many other critical exterior (and interior) inspections and repairs to prepare your house for winter. The key is to get organized and ensure that you address each critical area. While there are many helpful ‘lists’ on the Internet, we at J & R Construction share with our clients a particularly inclusive list created by Bob Vila of “This Old House” fame (click HERE to open a printable *.pdf file).
Although Bob Vila’s checklist (as well as the other ‘lists’) encourage folks to inspect the roof and clean the gutters (which we at J & R Construction also believe is very important), we also encourage an abundance of caution. Most injuries in and around the house involve ladders. In fact, according the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons, every year 500,000 people are treated for ladder-related injuries and approximately 300 of these incidents prove to be fatal. Therefore, if you do not feel comfortable or confident with your abilities on a ladder, please don’t do it. Rather, we encourage you to seek the help of an insured, licensed professional to accomplish your roof and gutter inspection and cleaning.
As you complete the cleaning, inspections, and repairs outside, it’s time to focus your energy on items inside your home. At the top of that list, J & R Construction strongly encourages our clients to test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Yes, carbon monoxide detectors are very important. Every year, 20,000 to 30,000 people in the United States are sickened by accidental carbon monoxide poisoning and approximately 500 people die, many in their own home. During 2010–2015, a total of 2,244 deaths resulted from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning, with the highest numbers of deaths each year occurring in winter months. In 2015, a total of 393 deaths resulting from unintentional carbon monoxide poisoning occurred, with 36% of the deaths occurring in December, January, or February. QuickStats: Number of Deaths Resulting from Unintentional Carbon Monoxide Poisoning, by Month and Year — National Vital Statistics System, United States, 2010–2015. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:234. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15585/mmwr.mm6608a9
Too, if your house thermostat has a digital display, it quite likely has batteries! Here’s a helpful tip from J & R Construction: In order to prevent an unplanned furnace outage (and a costly HVAC service call), be sure change those thermostat batteries, too! As always, it’s a good practice to keep extra household batteries on hand, just in case of an unplanned emergency. On that note, be sure to check the expiration dates on your stockpile of extra batteries.
As temperatures drop, your energy bill will increase. We at J & R Construction encourage you to have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. If you properly seal and insulate your home, you can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill. You can detect some air leaks visually, by simply inspecting any ‘gaps’ around windows and doors. You can also detect these air leaks by moving your hand around the frame. If you can feel a breeze or see daylight under your exterior doors, that’s bad news. The good news is that most thresholds adjust up or down with just a few twists of a screw. Turn all the screws until the door opens and closes without much drag and any draft is eliminated. Your best line of defense to squarely addressing any air leaks around the sides of a door or around a window is to apply weather stripping and caulking to these areas to help cut down and eliminate drafts. You can find weather stripping and caulking at most home and garden stores.
Your home is likely the largest investment you will ever make during your lifetime. Luckily, billionaire John Paulson said, “I still think buying a home is the best investment any individual can make.” Therefore, it just makes good, practical common sense to protect your largest investment, Yes? By simply incorporating regular proactive maintenance (visual checks, inspections, and repairs) into your regular routine on a monthly or quarterly basis, you can protect your investment and avoid costly repairs of needless damage, which could have easily been prevented with regular, proactive steps of home maintenance.
We at J & R Construction want our clients to enjoy their houses ̶ issue-free ̶ for as long as they own their homes. That is why we remain committed to researching and sharing best practices with our clients free of charge via our website’s blog page. Please feel free to share this information from our blog with your family and friends, too. What’s in it for us? Simply put, our best advertising is by word-of-mouth, in the form of referrals, from satisfied clients like you. It is our sincere hope that not only are our valued clients like you satisfied (and remain satisfied), we hope that you feel comfortable recommending J & R Construction to your family and friends.