Clean Roof and Gutters
Clean out your gutters of falling leaves and other debris from the spring and summer. Clogged gutters can prevent proper draining, damaging not just the gutter but roofs and siding as well. And a build-up of leaves can be breeding grounds for pests and wood rot issues.
If you had any damage to your roof from spring and summer storms, fall is the ideal time to have them repaired. Temperatures are cooler for contractors, but not too cold to prevent proper adherence of new shingles or siding. They can also inspect your roof for leaks, water pooling or other damage before winter hits.
Prepare Heating and Plumbing
Replace your furnace filter when you turn it on for the season and set a reminder to check it every 90 days this winter. A furnace tune-up with a professional may also be in order, which can prevent costly repairs down the road. Duct cleaning can also be a good idea this time of year to clear out summer pollen and dust before spending even more time indoors during winter.
To prepare your plumbing for winter you may want to insulate your pipes now, especially those on external walls. It could also be a good time for a water heater flush and fill to clean it out and prepare for the potential of more hot water used during colder weather.
Weatherize Home Entrances
Keep warm air from escaping your home by inspecting windows and door frames for any necessary repairs. If you used summer screens, then it’s time to switch them back to your winter storm windows and doors. Have issues with drafts in your home? Consider installing weather stripping or caulking around the entrances to your home to help lower your heating bills.
A fireplace can be a cozy addition to a cold winter day, but you’ll want to make sure it’s working properly. You should have an annual fall maintenance cleaning and inspection of your chimney to prevent fire hazards, and make sure to also test that your flue has a tight seal when closed to keep out cold air.
Update Outdoor Landscaping
Make sure to drain and coil your hose for the season, and store it in your shed, garage or another dry place if possible. Fall is a good time to trim tree limbs that are growing close to power lines, which could become dangerous during heavy snow and winter storms. You may want to protect your deck or porch with a power wash before temperatures drop as well.
There is some debate as to the benefits of raking leaves, but if you choose not to rake and/or mulch them, you may want to avoid keeping piles of leaves in your yard, which can attract insects and other pests. If you have any plants that are sensitive to cold temperatures, you can take time to wrap them in cloth barriers to help protect them.
Checking off the items on your fall maintenance checklist can sometimes seem like a hassle, but they will keep your family’s home safe and warm this winter!