Top Tips for Home Maintenance in the Fall: A Checklist
Temperatures are dropping and leaves are changing colors all over the county – fall is here, and soon winter will be on its way. With lower temperatures and the chance of inclement weather (experts are predicting a long, cold winter for three-quarters of America east of the Rocky Mountains), homeowners need to take extra precautions to transition their home from summer to fall, and then from fall to winter.
These expert maintenance tips and tricks will help keep your home in top notch condition going into the fall and winter seasons:
- Clean the gutters: Fallen leaves can easily clog gutters, which are a major cause of ice dams in colder months. Be sure to regularly clean your gutters while checking for old or damaged gutters. Replace damaged, worn out gutters before winter hits, and consider installing leaf guards to block leaves and debris – it will make your life a bit easier in the long run!
- Seal openings around doorframes and windows: Caulk is an easy, inexpensive fix to seal openings, and it will greatly help in preventing heat from escaping your home.
- Inspect your roof and chimney: Damage to the roof is one of the easiest ways for rain, snow and ice to find its way into your home. This fix could be as simple as replacing a few shingles, or it could turn into a larger project of replacing the entire roof. Either way, it will be worth it to take care of this sooner rather than later. Also take a look inside your chimney and double check that it is free of obstructions such as debris or animals who have taken up camp.
- Repair damaged driveways, walkways and steps: The last thing you need is a huge crack in your driveway while you’re walking to and from your car during a fall rainstorm or a winter snowstorm. Check for cracks that are 1/8-inch or wider, uneven sections or the disintegration of asphalt.
- Turn off outside faucets: Drain outside faucets and close shut-off valves to prevent pipes from freezing and bursting during colder weather.
- Inspect your fireplace or wood-burning stove: In order to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning, be sure to clean and repair a fireplace before its first use each fall/winter. While you’re at it, make sure you stock up on wood to keep those fires burning!
- Check insulation in the attic: Make sure attic insulation is intact and installed properly. The vapor barrier of the insulation should be facing down.
- Clean your dryer vent: This should be done each season or at least every six months. Be sure to clean the lint out of the dryer vent, and if possible, move your dryer and vacuum around it and behind it. If you can, remove lint and build-up from the outside dryer vent, too.
- Reverse your ceiling fan: Many people don’t know that you can change the direction of your ceiling fan. Reversing your ceiling fan pushes warm air from the ceiling down into the rest of the room.
- Regularly clean your humidifier: Humidifiers can be life-savers in dry, cold weather, but be sure they are clean in order to operate properly. If needed, clean the pads or filters within the humidifier with a laundry detergent and water solution and steel wool.