September 19th, 2014
It’s that time of year again! The mornings are chilly, the air smells like fall, and the leaves are falling. And that means it’s time to do some fall maintenance on your home to prepare it for winter.
Some items are just a visual inspection, and it’s good to get into the habit of knowing your home’s quirks. Others are things you will have to set aside more time to do.
First, inspect the base of your home and look for new or larger cracks in the foundation.
Check your gutters. Do they need to be cleaned out yet? Then check them every two or three weeks and keep them clean. Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least 3 to 4 feet away from the foundation,
Inspect your roof and chimney for loose shingles or tiles and cracks. Make sure your spark guard is on tight.
Check the gasket in your wood burning stove or fireplace.
Test the railings on stairs and decks.
Schedule someone to clean your chimney if you intend to use it regularly.
Check and clean your storm windows. If you live in a colder climate, you may want to install them now.
Clean out your dryer vents. Get a brush or vacuum attachment and get the ducts really cleaned out, or hire someone to come in and take care of it for you.
Clean your mower, and drain the fuel out before you put it into storage.
Clean your barbecue before putting it away into storage.
Replace any worn out or torn weatherstripping around the doors. Newer, energy-efficient windows generally don’t require added weatherstripping, but if your windows are older, weatherstripping can keep drafts at bay and energy costs down.
Get your caulk gun and go to town around your home looking for any gaps. Caulk can be a great addition to your weatherstripping. Caulk early in the fall as colder temperatures make caulking difficult. Spend your time researching to find the correct caulk for what you’re doing.
Replace the filter in your heater. And consider having someone come out and do a maintenance check and tune up to ensure the pilot light is on and burning correctly.
If you use a wood burning stove, get your wood now so it’s ready when you need it.
If you have a sump pump, test it now with a pail of water.
If you live in an area where your pipes may freeze, get some plywood. Then when there’s a freeze warning, set the boards against the exterior basement vents on whichever side of your house bears the brunt of your prevailing weather patterns. Just remember to remove them when the weather warms up as those vents do need to exhaust air.
Also, if you’re in an area that gets very cold, turn off your exterior faucets and drain your sprinkler system so you don’t have any nasty surprises in the Spring.
Don’t prune your trees until late winter.
If you use ceiling fans, change the direction so the hot air near the ceiling gets pushed down to the floor.
Gather up a supply of emergency equipment like batteries and water.
Change the batteries in your smoke detectors.