Hello Folks! Daniel Westbrook Remodel Expert here with a little fall advice to help improve your home and life!
This is my favorite time of the year with all the fall colors. It's a festive time celebrating the harvest, the fruits of our labor. The nights are cooling down, but the days are still warm. Kids are back to school, and we are looking forward to upcoming family and holidays! There is a feeling of abundance as we begin transitioning our lives indoors, naturally seeking warmth from the cooling weather.
As we spend more time indoors we are beginning to think of that bathroom remodel, or painting that wall, or just sprucing up the interior of our homes for visiting family and friends. This is the perfect time for home maintenance and readying your home for the long wet winter!
Healthy Indoor Air
We spend a significant amount of time in our homes in the northwest winter, so it's important to think about the air we breath indoors, as it relates to the health of our family. Think of it this way: with all the doors and windows closed, we are living in kind of a bubble, and so the air we breath can become toxic if not properly filtered or replaced somehow. Also, when updating or remodeling the interior of your home you should consider off gassing from new products or dust created from work. All this can end up in the air you breathe.
If you choose to paint a wall for instance, use a low VOC (volatile organic compound) paint. If purchasing a new rug, consider going with a natural fiber. As a remodel contractor, many of our projects are on the interior of the home so we set up dust controls and air filtration systems to keep dust and toxicity away from your living space. As much as possible, we like to use natural or low VOC products to ensure your health through our projects. If you are renovating on your own, be sure to remember also that sanding old paint with lead, or agitating asbestos, should be done by a certified contractor. If you're unsure, send me an email and I'll help you through.
Cleaning and replacing filters
Now that we are closing windows and doors and the furnace is being used to heat the home, consider the health of the air in your home. First I recommend changing or cleaning your furnace filters. If you have the cardboard and cloth type, remove and replace with a good HEPA filter of the same size. This is a purchase where spending the money is worth it, so buy the one that has the best filtration rating possible. If you have electronic filters like I do, you must remove them and clean them including the pre- and post-filters. The manufacturer has cleaning directions that can be found online if you no longer have the manual. It's important to clean and change your filters once a month throughout the year as your health depends on it!
Speaking of filters, it's also a great time to remove and clean the filters in the hood fan over your stove. Just simply remove and clean with soap and water. Also, I'd clean the underside of your hood fan while your at it, as this can be a easy area to forget to clean. During my many years of remodeling kitchens I have removed hood fans that have never been cleaned and are so built up with years of cooking grease that it's a wonder they even worked at all! Or didn't catch on fire! Cook tops that have a down draft also have filters that can be removed and cleaned as well. So if you do a lot of cooking, now is the time to clean the filters.
Also, fall is a good time to clean all your bathroom fans. They can easily build up with dust and grime, significantly reducing the cubic feet per minute of air draw they are designed to pull out of your room. Simply remove the cover and vacuum and wipe clean dust on the cover and cavity as best as you can. Note that many newer homes have bath fans that have automatic timers that are part of your whole house air exchanger. These are designed to remove the air in your home before it becomes toxic and replace it with fresh air, as newer energy efficient homes are air tight.
Fall is a great time to clean your windows again. This is because you will spend the next so many months looking out of them. Also, because in summer, we have a lot more dust and pollen in the air that seems to cling to our windows. In late fall, when the bugs die down, you can also remove and clean your screens. Clean them with a soft brush, vacuum, or compressed air. Store them in a safe place for the winter. This will improve your view in our dim northwest light!
Also, if you have a historic home with storm windows now is the time to reinstall. You have already maintained them, so simply clean the glass and install as needed!
For the most part roofs are pretty darn maintenance free. If your roof is getting old, you already know it. If you have had a leak, chances are you have had that taken care of. There is one thing that does get overlooked and that is moss build up. Moss is really bad for a roof especially wood shake. Moss has roots that go into the roofing, causing damage and shortening its life. So, use a liquid or granular moss killer. There are zinc and non-zinc types. Please read the directions carefully. The best time to treat is in the fall before it rains. You can do it yourself, or if the roof is steep I would consider a maintenance company, gutter cleaner, roofer, etc. In any case don't let moss grow on your roof.