You can feel it in the air. It’s that time of year where the hot summer days are coming to an end and cooler weather is ahead. Pumpkin and scarecrow decorations make their way onto house porches to celebrate the season. With all the fun and festivities, it’s easy to forget that our homes need a little TLC to get ready for the changes too. A few preventative fall home maintenance projects will get your home ready for the cooler temperatures to come and help you avoid costly damages that harsh weather can bring.
- Clear all twigs, leaves, branches, and other debris from your gutters. Check for any leaks, holes, loose gutter spikes, or other signs of damage. Make repairs where needed.
- Check downspouts for proper drainage. Look for any clogs or damages. Check that water is being diverted away from the home by at least 4-5 feet. Add a downspout extended or splash block if needed.
- Pools of water along the exterior of the home can lead to foundation issues. Check for any signs of water buildup and take proper steps to drain water away from the area.
- Fall is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn so that roots can grow deeper during the winter season.
- Prune trees and shrubs to encourage healthy growth.
- Trim any tree limbs that are low hanging, close to power lines, or hitting your roof. Storms that bring heavy snow and ice can cause damage to roofs and other exterior parts of the home risking possible water damage or other destruction.
- Bring in any outdoor furniture to prevent wear and tear from harsh winter conditions.
- The last thing you want in the cooler season is water damage. Being observant and taking good care of your pipes will help prevent leaks or bursts that can occur with freezing temperatures. Check that pipes are properly insulated and take proper steps to prevent frozen pipes.
- Know where your main water shut-off valve is located so that in the event of a burst pipe, leak, or flood, you can turn off the water quickly.
Pipes & Hoses
- Drain your irrigation system to avoid water damage from freezing temperatures.
- Drain all garden hoses and disconnect from faucets.
- Turn off water valves to exterior pipes as an extra precaution against water drips.
- If you are anticipating a cold winter, wrapping exterior pipes with heating tape can help save energy and protect them from freezing.
- Replace filters in your heating system so it can run efficiently. Schedule a tune-up from a professional to do a yearly inspection.
Windows & Doors
- Walk around your home and do an inspection of all windows and exterior door frames. Make repairs to anything that is loose or damaged. Use weather stripping or caulking to seal up any cracks between trim and siding or anywhere where pipes or wires may enter the home. Sealing leaks means less energy waste and it prevents moisture from getting inside walls which can lead to mold and water damage.
Chimneys & Fireplaces
- Fireplaces should be cleaned yearly to prevent fire. Chimneys and fireplaces should be inspected and cleaned by a professional.
- Open and close your fireplace flue to make sure the damper works properly. When closed, the fireplace flue should seal tightly.
- Always stay safe when checking out a roof. If you feel uncomfortable or unsafe, hire a licensed professional to check for wear and tear. Look for rust spots or signs of leaks and gaps on flashing around skylights, pipes, and chimneys. Check for signs of damage including cracked, buckled, or missing shingles. If shingles are damaged or missing, they should be replaced immediately.
- If you have a steep roof or multistory house, be sure to stay safe. Binoculars can be used from the ground to make assessments.
- Plan on checking your carbon monoxide and smoke alarms annually. Fall is a great time to do that. Check that the detectors are working properly and put in fresh batteries.
Taking on a few extra fall chores is the best way to prevent costly damages that often occur with cooler temperatures. The last thing you want is a disastrous surprise when spring rolls around. So, put in a little extra work today, and then go out and enjoy all of those fun festivities fall has to offer.
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