Fall is a great time for homeowners to get their homes ready for the colder months ahead. Preparing your home for the winter usually means taking steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency and prevent damage from winter storms.
Although proper home maintenance might be all that’s required, most of the tasks should be completed before the cooler temperatures, ice, snow, and shorter days of winter make them more difficult. The mild weather of autumn offers the best time to handle such projects. Complete the following fall home maintenance tasks and you can relax knowing you have prepared your home for the coming months.
Clean Your Gutters and Downspouts
Now that leaves are falling, it’s time to clean your gutters and downspouts. Fallen leaves and debris can accumulate quickly, clogging your gutters and hindering proper drainage. Poor drainage can cause water to pool during rainstorms, which can lead to much bigger concerns including damage to the roof, siding, or foundation.
Use your gloved hands or a gutter scoop to remove any visible buildup before you flush out the gutters. You’ll need a garden hose and a ladder to complete this task effectively. Cleaning the gutters now reduces the likelihood of future overflow problems, meaning you’ll have one less potential issue to worry about come winter. If you’re not comfortable doing this yourself, you can always hire a professional.
Perform Repair-Related Fall Home Maintenance Tasks
Start by making exterior repairs. Check your property for signs of damages. Make sure you inspect your roofing, siding, and foundation. Anything that needs to be repaired should be scheduled before the winter weather hits.
• Seal any gaps or cracks that might serve as entryways for critters. Apart from the need to raid your pantry, many animals will be looking for a warm place to nest during the cold winter months. Secure your house to keep the wildlife outdoors and improve your home’s energy efficiency.
• Clean your dryer vents. Besides increasing the risk of a fire, lint accumulation in dryer vents can hinder your dryer’s performance. Fall is the right time to remove that lint since you’ll probably need your dryer a lot more during the cold winter months. If you cannot clean the vent yourself, you can always hire a specialist.
• Add weather-stripping around the frames of your windows and doors to help retain indoor heat and reduce energy costs. You can also help keep warm air from going out and prevent the cold air from coming in by adding door sweeps to the bottom of every drafty door.
Check Your Safety Devices
This is a vital step when preparing your home for the winter and can include the following fall home maintenance tasks:
• Testing your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Make sure you replace any batteries that need replacing.
• Checking your fire extinguisher’s expiration date and replacing it if it’s expired.
• Testing your home for radon if you’ve not yet done so. Your home is likely to have higher levels of radon as temperatures drop and your windows are kept shut more often. This is important because exposure to elevated levels of radon can be dangerous to your health. Hire a professional home inspector who specializes in radon.