Have you done your fall home maintenance yet?
If not, the following checklist will help to remind you of everything that needs to be done to get your home prepared for the shorter…and colder days and nights ahead.
Downspouts and gutters
- ⬥ Check to see that gutters and downspouts are in good repair and free of debris. This will avoid damage to your gutters and your home, helping to avoid costly repairs.
- ⬥ Water shouldn’t be running behind the gutters. Check to see that all support brackets are secure and in place.
- ⬥ Make sure the water is draining properly. Pooling water can cause damage to your foundation as well as your driveway and any walkways.
Doors and windows
- ⬥ If necessary change out your summer screens to storm windows and doors.
- ⬥ Check your door and window frames for damage. Repairs should be done before winter sets in and makes a simple to fix problem a major repair.
- ⬥ Check the caulking and weather stripping around windows to keep out drafts and lower your heating bills.
- ⬥ Check the filter in your furnace, clean and/or replace if needed.
- ⬥ Schedule an inspection with an HVAC specialist to catch any issues early
- ⬥ Clean out your air ducts and if you burn wood, have your chimney swept to reduce the chance of fire and to improve your system’s efficiency.
- ⬥ Shut off the water supply to any exterior faucets, then open the faucets up to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting.
- ⬥ If necessary, wrap the pipes with heat tape to keep them from freezing
- ⬥ Remove garden hoses that are still attached to outdoor faucets and stow them in a garage or tool shed to prevent water from backing up into your home’s plumbing.
- ⬥ If you have a sprinkler system, drain it well by doing the following:
- ◇ Turn the water supply off at the main valve
- ◇ Turn off the automatic controller
- ◇ Remove water from the system by opening drain valves
- ◇ Take up above-ground sprinkler heads, shake out the water, then put them back
- ◇ If your system doesn’t have drain valves have a professional blow out the water using compressed air. The cost to have this done is many thousands of dollars less than repairing damage done by expanding water
- ⬥ Fertilize and reseed your lawn if needed because even though the grass is slowing down, the roots are preparing for winter by going deeper down into the soil.
- ⬥ Once the leaves have turned prune your trees and shrubs to help them grow stronger and healthier.
- ⬥ Trim back any limbs that could hit your house or the power-lines leading to your home
- ⬥ Put away lawn furniture, solar lights, rain gauges…anything that could be damaged by the cold and snow
- ⬥ Run all of the gas out of your mower before putting it up for the season.
- ⬥ Grease all fittings and check the belts for wear and tear (or have a lawn care professional do it for you)
- ⬥ Store your lawn mower battery in a warm, safe place (e.g. your basement) to keep the cold from sapping its life faster than necessary.
- ⬥ If you prefer to leave gas in your mower, add fuel stabilizer to protect your engine from damage over the long cold months ahead. Run it for at least five minutes to ensure that the stabilizer made it to the carburetor.
You’d be surprised at how much a small leak…or two…can make your heating system run more often, driving up your energy costs.
- ⬥ Walk around your home’s exterior and use color-matched exterior caulk to fill in the holes or cracks in those areas where caulk is missing or cracked.
- ⬥ Look around windows and doors, where pipes enter your house and cracks between the siding and trim-work.
- ⬥ Choose a day that’s above 50 degrees to make sure your caulk flows easily.
Do a quick roof-check
Using binoculars take a good look at your home’s roof. Look for the following telltale signs you could have a problem that needs attention:
- ⬥ Cracked shingles
- ⬥ Buckled shingles
- ⬥ Missing shingles
- ⬥ Rust on flashing
- ⬥ Moss and lichen (black algae stains – on north facing areas – are only cosmetic)
- ⬥ Rubber collar around a vent stack looks good – not cracked or loose
- ⬥ Using a flashlight, look up your fireplace flue and check the damper to make sure it opens and closes freely.
- ⬥ Check for nests or other obstructions (you should easily see daylight at the top)
- ⬥ Are there any missing bricks or mortar? If needed, have a professional do an inspection and make any repairs before winter sets in.
Finally, set aside a day or a weekend to run through your fall home maintenance tasks while the weather is still good…it’s a legitimate excuse to get out there and enjoy the beautiful autumn season while it lasts!