Prepare for the coldest weather of the year with this fall home maintenance checklist.
Fall is in full-swing and there’s no better time to prepare your home for winter and its potential to damage your property than with our fall home maintenance checklist. Give your home a little TLC by making repairs and taking preventative measures against even the toughest weather. This indoor and outdoor home maintenance could save you from the hassle and expense of costly repairs and even extend the life of your home.
1. Examine the perimeter
Take a look at your yard for ways to clean it up. Rake and bag the leaves, remove dead bushes, branches, and shrubs, and pull up any dead plants and weeds. If you have a composter, now is a good time to feed it with your lawn’s refuse and generate some nutrients for springtime gardening.
2. Get into the gutters
Although an unpopular task, cleaning the gutters is actually one of the best ways to take care of your home. After that, check the downspouts for debris and make sure a clear path exists for the snow to melt and drain away from the house.
3. Trim those trees
Walk around outside your house and scan the trees for dead or low-hanging branches. Trim back any branches that you see are resting on the roof or brushing up against the windows and siding. If it snows in your area, it’s possible for the ice and snow to weigh down these branches to the point where they snap—causing collateral damage you do not want to deal with.
4. Primp and prime the lawn
If you think fall lawn care starts and ends with raking the leaves, you don’t know the half of it. Take winter preparation a step further by aerating, fertilizing, and seeding your lawn—you’ll be ahead of the game when the spring rains come. While you’re at it, eyeball the foundation of your home for any spots where the soil may be sinking. Filling those ruts now will cause melting snow and ice to run away from the house and save you from potential water damage to your basement and foundation.
5. Fortify your equipment
For gasoline-powered equipment, such as lawn mowers and string trimmers, drain the fuel and store it in a safe container. Fuel that sits in the tank for too long may cause corrosion. Don’t forget to assess your winter equipment! Make sure you’re stocked up on antifreeze, de-icer, shovels, salt, and car window scrapers—you’ll be thankful you didn’t wait until they were sold out in stores. If you’re fortunate to have a snow blower, ensure that it’s maintained and ready to go when the time comes.
6. Winterize the waterways
Before fall ends, shut off your home’s exterior water lines. Cold winter weather may cause water left in outdoor pipes to freeze and burst. If you have any outdoor hoses, drain and wrap them up and store them in your garage or another dry, indoor space. This is also a good time to drain your home’s hot water heater and clean out any sediment buildup. This task will increase the life of your hot water heater and make its water cleaner and safer to use.
7. Address exterior damage
Next on our fall home maintenance checklist: Inspect your roof, windows, and doorways for gaps that could allow cold drafts to permeate. These can be repaired with simple caulk or could require more involvement, like window replacement. While this may seem a bit more extensive than you’d like, you don’t want to risk hot air escaping from your home and increasing your utility bill all winter.
8. For heat’s sake, be proactive
It’s easy to go long periods of time without examining your home’s HVAC system, but don’t let this step escape you this fall. Winter is the busy season for HVAC professionals, so it’s in your best interest to contact them now for preventative measures. This is also a great time to clean or change your air filter to improve your home’s air quality as well as your HVAC’s efficiency. If you have a working fireplace, have your chimney cleaned or your gas line inspected so you can relax and enjoy its warmth in the months to come.
This fall home maintenance checklist may seem heavy, but these tips are essential to a worry-free winter.