Autumn Home Maintenance Tips
Fall is a great time to tackle home maintenance projects — the weather is cooler and you still have some time before winterizing becomes a priority. Take steps to reduce the risk of costly damage and maximize energy efficiency with this fall home maintenance checklist.
It’s important to clean your gutters and downspouts regularly throughout autumn to keep leaves and debris from building up. Neglected gutters can lead to pest infestations, wood rot and damaged guttering. It can also cause water to drain near your home, leading to serious foundation problems that could cost tens of thousands of dollars to fix.
Take the time to make sure all the support brackets are secure and see if water is leaking out from behind the gutters. Also make sure that water isn’t pooling since this can cause damage to driveways, walkways and foundations. You may need to add runners to the bottoms of your downspouts to funnel water away from your home.
Doors and Windows
Fall is a good time to inspect and repair damaged loose doors or window frames. You should also swap out summer screens for cool weather storm windows and doors. Spend an afternoon adding caulking or weather stripping around doors and windows to keep drafts out and prevent your heater from running all winter.
As winter approaches, you want to do everything you can to avoid catastrophic plumbing issues. One of the best things you can do is make sure your pipes are well-insulated to keep them from freezing and bursting. Focus on any exposed outdoor piping and interior pipes running through your basement. You should also know how to locate and operate the water shut-off valve in case pipes burst.
As fall approaches, you should have a professional inspect your heating system to make sure it’s running optimally and look for minor problems before they evolve into major issues requiring expensive repairs. At the bare minimum, replace the furnace filters and clean your ducts to improve your heating system’s efficiency and keep dust from flowing into your home’s interior.
Take the time to remove debris and plants from your ridge vents and the vents at your eaves. Check the rodent and bird screens on your attic vents to ensure that unwanted guests stay out. Double-check to make sure your attic insulation isn’t covering vents in the eaves, or you could end up with dangerous winter ice dams on the roof.
If you have a wood-burning fireplace, invite a professional to inspect and clean the chimney. Regularly used fireplaces require annual cleaning to prevent chimney fires. If you neglect to have your chimney cleaned, creosote can build up on the interior walls. This highly flammable substance can ignite, putting your family and home at risk. While you’re having your chimney inspected, have the expert test your fireplace flue to make sure it has a tight seal when closed.
While many people believe grass stops growing during the fall, the roots actually continue to grow deeper to prepare for cold weather. This makes autumn a great time to reseed and fertilize your lawn. You should also prune your shrubs and trees once the leaves start changing color to promote healthy growth in the spring. Finally, trim away any dead or dangerous tree limbs that might grow too close to power lines or break off under the weight of heavy snowfall or pressure from high winter winds.
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