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5 home maintenance tips to keep your home running smoothly

Here are som September Home Maintenance Tips for Ann Arbor Michigan Homeowners to get the most enjoyment out of your home this fall and winter.

Tip #1 – Hire Contractors Early

Contractors are incredibly busy and most are short-handed. So reach out now to get them scheduled because lead times for contractors can be very long. If you wait for that first 40-degree day to schedule your HVAC or yard maintenance, you will most likely be looking at an extra month’s lead time. Make those calls today!

If you need a contractor to help with any home maintenance work, reach out to us for recommendations from our preferred contractor’s list – these are people that have done good work for our clients and we wholeheartedly recommend them.

Disclaimer: Make sure to check a contractor’s insurance before they begin work, get quotes in writing, and be sure that the contractor and proposed scope of work are appropriate for your needs.

Tip #2 – Keep the Critters Out

Walk around your entire home and note any gaps or openings where bugs, snakes (Yikes!), mice, or other critters can get in. I am sure you don’t want them as house guests. Seal any gaps or holes where critters could enter. Mice need only a tiny gap to be able to sneak into your house and raid your pantry. With colder weather coming, all of the little critters out there will be looking for warm places to make a home.

While you are at it, note any needs for exterior repairs. Look for signs of damage to the roof, siding, and foundation, rotted wood, deteriorated bricks, and motor and caulking. If you spot anything that needs repair, schedule it before winter weather hits.

Tip #3 – Clean Your Fireplace, Stock up on Wood

Nothing is better on a cold Michigan day than the warm glow of a wood-burning or gas fireplace. Now is the time to get your fireplace cleaned and checked out.

Most people are going to wait until a week before Thanksgiving to think about this, so get a jump and get it done now and beat the rush. Actually, the best time to do this is July! Contractors are not busy and many offer off-season specials.

Wood burning fireplaces and especially chimneys need to be cleaned and checked periodically. Gas fireplaces should be checked too. A qualified gas fireplace technician will completely clean the fireplace and adjust the flame, ceramic logs, and glowing embers to maximize the look and efficiency, and safety of your gas fireplace.

Tip #4 – Trim Trees

Fall is the time to trim dead wood from the trees in your yard to keep them healthy and you and your family safe.

Oak Trees, especially, should be trimmed between October and March when they are dormant to avoid Oak Wilt. Oak Wilt, an invasive fungus deadly to oaks, kills these mighty giants throughout the upper midwest including in Michigan. Researchers at Michigan State are working to more thoroughly understand oak wilt and how to prevent it because at the moment, there is no cure once a red oak is infected. The good news is that most new infections can be prevented by not damaging or pruning oaks during warm weather (April to October). So we all need to know how to protect our oaks!

The other benefit of trimming dead wood out of trees in your yard is to keep these branches from falling on your house or car! We have seen heavy storms this year and I expect this will continue! Trees with dead wood, full of snow during a windy storm are a recipe for disaster.

Tip #5 – Maintain the washer and dryer

You will be doing more washing and drying as you put away your summer clothes and freshen up your fall and winter wardrobes so having your washer and dryer in tip-top shape is a must. 

Cleaning out the dryer vents can be a job you do yourself, but if you don’t feel comfortable doing so (or if you’ve been putting it off because you do not have time). You may want to hire a pro to do washer and dryer maintenance for you. Washing machine hoses need to be replaced from time to time, and a cracked hose can cause a leak — which can mean costly damage to your home. Clean dryer vents and hoses will help your machine work more efficiently and reduce the risk of fire. Remove the dryer and clean the vent all the way to the exterior, checking the exhaust vent cover for holes or cracks that can allow in cold air and critters. 

If you have any questions about home maintenance or selecting contractors for your needs, please reach out to us.  We maintain a list of highly qualified vetted contractors and are happy to refer them out to our friends, family, and clients. Do these home maintenance items now and get the most enjoyment out of your home this fall and winter.


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