Some home repairs are inevitable, but you can ward off major damage by completing regular maintenance tasks. Some tasks can be completed during any time of the year, while others should be completed at a certain time of the year in order to prepare for the coming season. Completing a fall home maintenance checklist will prepare your home for cooler, wetter weather and the harsher elements that can come with winter. Keep your home feeling cozy, dry, and braced for winter with these essential home maintenance tasks.
Landscape where needed
Spring is the time when new flowers are planted but fall is also a perfect time to clean up your landscaping and prepare your yard for colder weather. Fall landscaping maintenance should consist of pruning trees and shrubs especially those that are close to the roof and siding. This will prevent limbs from falling during heavy snow or ice as well as keep moisture from being trapped near the house. Pruning isn’t just a way to protect your house, it also helps regrow and bloom even larger during the next growing season.
Continue to cut your grass until it is no longer needed as this will keep it from overgrowing and turning into a large mess when spring arrives next year. A well manicured yard increases your home’s curb appeal, which has a huge impact on buyers when they search for a home. Make it a priority to tend to your yard even as the weather begins to cool so that it will continue to flourish and be easier to tend to in the spring.
Clean and treat the exterior
Pressure washing the outside of your home removes dirt, mildew, mold, and grime that collected during the summer. How you treat the siding will vary depending upon your location as well the type of siding. Vinyl is the most common house siding and doesn’t need much more than a good power wash once a year. If your siding looks dated or needs to be patched, speak to a professional right away. Small cracks or gaps in siding can lead to water damage, pest invasion, or mold issues in the long run. You should also pressure wash gutters, sidewalks, and your driveway.
Winterize the deck area
If you live in an area that will see extremely low temperatures during the winter, you will need to store your outdoor furniture, decor, and equipment. Make sure to safely secure outdoor pillows and cushions in an area where they will not be damaged by pests. Cover outdoor furniture or move it to an area where it will not be harmed by frigid temperatures and snow. You should also check on the state of your deck. If your deck is made of wood look for any loose boards and splintered wood. Fix these before cold weather moves in as they will only get worse during this time. You should also seal your deck to prevent cracking or warping.
Inspect the roof, gutters and downspouts
Your roof is exposed to a number elements throughout the year and needs to be inspected regularly. Check for signs of loose or missing shingles as well as areas of algae, moss, or piles of leaves. You should also inspect and clean out your gutters and downspouts. Glitter debris will trap water, which will freeze during the winter. This can cause damage to the eaves or can bend the gutters which will impede proper drainage. Check your downspouts for clogged areas that need to be cleared out.
Winterize outdoor entertainment areas
If you are like most homeowners you have upgraded your backyard with a few extra items such as a swimming pool, outdoor kitchen, or entertainment area. If you have a swimming pool and you live in an area that will get below swimming temperatures you will need to prepare it for cold weather. Deep clean the pool, alter the water chemistry, and lower the water level to at least a foot below the skimmer and then cover the pool.
Inspect the windows, doors, and surrounding areas
Drafty doors and windows are a serious problem not just because they allow cold air into your home, but because they allow water and moisture to seep into cracks resulting in mold or rot. Remove old or cracked caulk from around the windows and apply a new layer. You can add weather stripping around moveable areas of the home for added draft protection.
Inspect the heating system
The majority of homeowners use a gas furnace to heat their home. If you are one of these homeowners you should have your heating system inspected by a professional annually. He or she should also check the pressure, burner combustion, and the heat exchanger. If you have an electric heat pump the professional will need to lubricate moving parts as well as inspect the condensate drain and trap.
Some homeowners use a wood or gas burning fireplace in conjunction with their whole home heating unit. If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace you should have the fireplace and chimney inspected and cleaned yearly by a professional. However, you should also inspect your chimney prior to using it. Test the flute and remove old leftover residue from inside the fireplace.
Prep plumbing and drainage systems
Before the rain turns to snow you should ensure that your drainage system is working properly. Look around the foundation for standing water which will freeze when the temperatures drop. Inspect the pipes for blockages if you have a surface or subsurface drainage system. Inside you should insulate the water pipes if they are not already. If your home has a sump pump you should test that it activates.
Insulate, insulate, insulate
Nothing reduces heating bills more than a well insulated home. Climb up into your attic and check around your existing insulation. Look for gaps or areas of drafts where additional insulation needs to be added. If you notice quite a bit of heat loss in the attic or other area of the home, call a professional for extra insulation checks and additions. This is important regardless of whether you are deciding between selling your home now or waiting as a well insulated home is one of the most important features to current home buyers who are worried about the cost of utilities.
Completing fall maintenance inspections and fixes will ward off larger home repairs in the future. It will also increase your home’s value by demonstrating care and constant upkeep of your home. If you find issues that need to be addressed, contact a professional who can assist you.
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