The leaves are falling and the weather is changing! All of the beautiful colors that surround us signify that colder months are on the way. Before the temperatures plunge it’s important to get your home ready for winter to avoid costly damage. Performing a few fall preventative home maintenance tasks will help keep you cozy and relaxed all winter long:
1. Clean Gutters & Downspouts
- Ensure that there isn’t a buildup of leaves and other debris in your gutters as this could lead to wood rot and pest infestations that can destroy your gutters. You can tackle this task throughout fall.
- Check that water drains properly and doesn’t pool as this could damage your driveway, walkway and foundation.
- Secure all support brackets so water doesn’t flow behind the gutter as well.
2. Prepare Windows & Doors
- Swap out summer screens with cold weather storm windows and doors.
- Carefully inspect your windows and doors for any loose or damaged frames. Apply caulk or weather stripping to prevent pesky drafts and lower your heating bills.
3. Optimize Your Heating Systems
- Replace the filter on your furnace.
- Have a heating professional inspect your heating systems to ensure efficiency and rule out any minor problems that could become costly repairs.
- Improve your heating systems efficiency by cleaning ducts. This will also help to minimize respiratory problems from dust being pushed throughout the air in your home.
4. Winterize Plumbing
- Make sure your pipes are sufficiently insulated to prevent them from freezing and bursting.
- Once temperatures start to drop below 30°F, locate and turn off the water shut-off valve to outdoor plumbing just in case pipes do freeze. These valves are usually found in your basement near the location of your outdoor spicket.
5. Inspect Chimney & Fireplace
- Fall is the perfect time to have your chimney inspected and cleaned by a professional. If you frequently use your fireplace without cleaning it, you’re asking for a dangerous chimney fire to occur. You should have your chimney inspected and cleaned annually.
- Test your fireplace flue for a tight seal when closed.
6. Ensure Adequate Attic Ventilation
- To prevent damaging ice dams on your roof, ensure your attic insulation isn’t blocking vents in the eaves of your home.
- Ensure outer ridge vents and vents at eaves are free of plants and debris.
- Inspect rodent and bird screens to prevent any unwanted guests from invading your attic.
Cold weather brings a whole new whirlwind of threats to our homes. It’s important for us to take a little bit of time to nurture our homes so they can continue to protect us from the elements winter brings.