Fall is the perfect time to think about getting your home ready for the winter months ahead. Check these easy to do tasks off your fall home maintenance checklist starting today.
Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Once most of the leaves have fallen, inspect, and clean out gutters and downspouts. Clogged gutters during rainstorms can cause water to pool, potentially damaging your roof, siding or foundation. You can hire a professional for this project or do it yourself. Either way, make sure the gutters are not sagging, and that all brackets are tightened.
Have Your Roof Inspected
Take a walk around your property, looking for signs of damage to the roof, siding and foundation. If you find any shingles that are torn, curling or buckling, schedule to have your roof repaired or replaced before winter weather hits. Damaged flashing around pipes, chimneys, and skylights also needs to be repaired to prevent any leaks from ice or snow.
Trim Tree Branches
Fall is a good time to trim tree branches, when dormancy has set in. It’s a good idea to trim branches back 8-10 feet away from your home, so that they don’t damage your roofing or siding in windy conditions or cause moisture problems. Always use clean landscaping trimmers to prevent the spread of disease.
Schedule a Chimney Sweep
If you have a wood burning fireplace that you plan on using during the winter, it’s a good idea to hire a professional to come inspect and clean it. Once clean, consider adding a chimney cap to make sure critters cannot crawl through it looking for warmth and food. You can find certified chimney sweepers at the Chimney Safety Institute of America.
Increase Exterior Lighting
It will be getting darker earlier. To prepare, add path lighting, porch lights and spotlights to both the front and rear of your home. This a great way to extend your indoor living spaces, add warmth to your home, and deter theft. Motion-activated lighting often provides the greatest benefits.
Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors (the garage door included) will help you save on heating costs during the cold months ahead. Other measures you can do boost winter warmth and comfort include:
- Caulk around windows and doors
- Install foam gaskets behind outlet and switch plates
- Replace thresholds with those that feature pliable gaskets
- Add a door sweep to the base of drafty doors to keep heat in and cold air out
Take Care of Your Heating System
This easy tasks allows your heating system to operate more efficiency. Use high-efficiency filters labeled with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of 11 or 12. Additionally, making sure your furnace is cleaned, maintained, and in working order before you need to turn on the heat will save you money and prolong system life. You should schedule heating system maintenance every fall.
Stock Up on Winter Supplies
It’s a good idea to complete these tasks in the fall:
- Pack emergency kits for both your home and car
- If needed, pick up a bag or two of pet and plant safe ice melt
- Check the condition of snow shovels, ice scrapers, and sleds; replace as needed
- If you have a snow blower, have it serviced and purchase fuel now for the winter
- Rotate storage so that summer toys and tools are towards the back, and winter items, including holiday decor are in the front