"The Inside Information" from Barry at Bretton Inspection, Inc.


Where did summer go? Don't spend any time dwelling on those lost days, you've got work to do! I've grouped system components together for you so it can be one job! Don't you feel better now?

Number 1 item on your "To Do" list

Furnace - Heating and Cooling companies are running specials on furnace tune ups. Take advantage of the discount and get your furnace cleaned and tuned now! The furnace is the most expensive mechanical device in your home and by what I see on inspections the most neglected.

Yes, I have mine tuned every year, maintenance is less expensive than the alternative.

Filters - Buy a case of filters (the correct size), put them beside the furnace and change the filter every 4-6 weeks, if you have them it only takes a minute to change one.

Humidifier - Clean it! White vinegar works pretty good. Replace the foam pad if it-us">'s hard and the evaporator core if it's coming apart. Be sure the water valve is turned on and the duct damper open if your system has one.

Carbon Monoxide Detector - Take it from me, we had a close call last winter. You want one of these babies and make sure it works!

Smoke Detectors - How many of you unplugged the batteries? There should be at least one on every level of your home and all bedrooms, Pretty cheap insurance if you think about it. Make sure they work!

Number 2

Gutters - Clean em, again! Then a couple of more times this fall. A leaf blower works well. If your roof is too steep then hire someone.

Downspouts - Want to keep that roof water out of your basement, then extend your downspouts 5 feet from the foundation.

Grading - If you didn't't take time to adjust the grade along your foundation this summer then do it now. The grade should slope away from the foundation for at least 3 feet, if soil is up on the basement windows or sill then install window wells with covers.

Number 3

Roof - Inspect your roof for damaged shingles or open flashings, clean off any debris.

Chimney - Check for open flashings, eroded / cracked mortar joints, or a broken / cracked cap. Freezing water causes expensive repairs. Have your fireplace flue cleaned, chimney fires cause "very expensive" repairs.

Number 4

Attic - The best time to take a peek in your attic is when it's raining, any questions? Look for staining on the subroof and insulation. Also take a look at the insulation, correct any disturbed insulation for uniform coverage, (some recessed lights are not rated for insulation contact) and ventilation issues, bath fans should be vented to the exterior and soffit vents should not be blocked by insulation or your primed for a mildew problem.

Number 5

Caulk - around windows and doors, check the weather strips.

Paint - touch up any exterior paint that's needed if you have any time left after moving the wood pile away from the house.

It's a lot easier to work on these items now than in the snow and that should leave you plenty of time for the yard work!

Lawn - mow the lawn again and when you put the mower, string trimmer, blower etc. away for the winter run all the gas out of them. Stabil a gas additive is good but I wouldn't rely on it for the entire season, you'll probably wind up with goo in the gas line and a repair bill in the spring.

Fertilizer - Good time for an application of weed and feed. Use a fall blend.

Garage - I won't go into vehicle maintenance other than - Clean out the garage so your wife can park in it this winter. (yeah, you're a hero now) Do you really need all that junk?

Winterize -  the sprinkler system, pool, hose faucets and pond (water feature).

Leaves - Get the leaves off your lawn or just blow em into your neighbors yard when they aren't around.

That's about it for now, getting ready for Winter is really just common sense put into action, get it all done before you go hunting or fishing and avoid the guilt trip coming your way! Now it's time to enjoy Autumn, take the kids to the cider mill, let em jump in a pile of leaves, build a bonfire and roast some marshmallows, then mess up some pumpkins!


Barry Whitehead
 Certified Inspector

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Contact: Barry Whitehead
Bretton Inspection, Inc.
White Lake, MI 
Phone: (248) 698-4462,
  Fax: (248) 698-4629



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