As we enter into fall, it’s the perfect time to start thinking about the things you need to do to get your home ready for the colder months ahead. Routine maintenance is something you absolutely must do to protect your home and property.
From gutter cleaning to tree trimming to window sealing, here is a check list of maintenance tasks you should perform this fall:
- Clean the Gutters and Downspouts
Soon your gutters will be filled to the brim with leaves. When gutters get too full or clogged you risk water damage to your roof or foundation when they overflow. You may want to think about doing this a few times during the fall season, but if you do it only once, do it after all of the leaves have fallen.
- Check the Gutter and Downspout Alignment
Make sure that when it rains the rain water collects and drains away from the house.
- Inspect the Roof
Check for missing, loose, or damaged shingles. Repair if needed.
- Take Care of Plumbing
Drain and winterize exterior plumbing. Blow out the sprinklers and prepare them for winter. Wrap your water pipes to prevent freezing. You don’t want pipes bursting and /or freezing in the winter months.
- Seal Windows and Doors
In order to help keep your home warm this winter, you want to make sure that no heat is escaping. Check your homes doors and windows for gaps and seal them. For older windows, you may also want to get a shrink wrap kit to better seal the entire window.
- Trim Trees
Make sure that there are no limbs dangling over or resting on your roof. The snow and ice that come in winter can add a lot of weight to the tree limbs and potentially damage your roof.
- Mow or Rake Leaves
When you mow leaves, instead of raking them, you create a sort of mulch for your lawn that will help to keep it healthy through the winter. Or, if you’d rather, rake them all up.
- Get Your Heating System Serviced
The last thing you would want this winter is for your heat to go out. Have your furnace, heat pump, etc. serviced in the fall so that it is optimal shape when the cold winter weather arrives.
- Check Batteries
Make sure that your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries and are working properly. This is especially important if you use a fireplace in the winter.
- Seal the Driveway
Try and do this before the leaves start to fall so that they don’t get stuck in your sealant. The snow and ice of winter are really hard on your driveway, especially if you have cracks that the snow and ice can pack in. You could hire a professional, but this is actually a fairly easy DIY if you have the time.
- Clean the Chimney
Get your chimney cleaned and inspected. If you have fires regularly you should have your chimney inspected once a year. As your fireplace is used most often in winter, fall is a great time to have it maintenanced. Call a professional as soon as you can to avoid delay when their schedules book up in the winter. This is an important safety measure as creosote build-up could cause a chimney fire.
- Drain the Water Heater
This will remove sediment build-up from the holding tank, and can improve the water heaters efficiency by up to 50 percent.
- Reverse Ceiling Fans
To help keep heating bills low, reverse your ceiling fan so that hot air that rises to the ceiling gets pushed back down.
- Cover Air Conditioners
Unless you have a heat pump, cover your air conditioner (both central air or window) to keep leaves and other debris out of the unit.
- Clear Off the Deck
Make sure there are no leaves or debris left on your deck to prevent damage when they decompose. Also, cover or clear off any outdoor furniture you may have to keep it from becoming damaged in the winter weather.
This may seem like a lot to deal with, but keep in mind many of these projects take only a few minutes and you have a couple of months to complete them. Sit down and write out a schedule for when you would like to get each item done, so it isn’t quite so overwhelming. A little bit of time and effort today, will save you a lot of inconvenience and money tomorrow.