Beautiful, brisk fall is here which means winter is right around the corner. Autumn is the perfect time to get your home and yard prepped for the colder months ahead. Take advantage of the mild weather this season and use these maintenance tasks to ensure you and your household are ready before the snow falls.
Inspect and clean out gutters and downspouts- Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
Seal any gaps or cracks around doors or windows with caulking or weather stripping- Sealing up cracks between trim and siding, around window and door frames, and where pipes and wires enter your house. Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive and most important of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.
Drain all outdoor faucets and irrigation systems- Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets. Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage. Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.
Have a professional inspect your furnace- Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. An annual maintenance contract ensures you’re at the top of the list for checks and shaves 20% off the cost of a single visit.
Check fireplaces for soot build-up and/or hire a chimney sweep to do an inspection- To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney. Have your fireplace flue cleaned by a professional to remove creosote buildup.