As temperatures drop and we find ourselves spending more time indoors, unexpected disasters can lurk around every corner for unprepared homeowners. By executing a fall maintenance checklist, you can reduce risk to your property and ensure a safe and cozy winter for you and your family.
Grab pen and paper and check these items off your fall home maintenance list, today!
Keep the Heat In
Heating and cooling amounts to an estimated 47% of energy costs, but proper insulation and sealing in the wintry months can save up to 20% off your bill. Start your fall maintenance routine by carefully checking the perimeter of your home for cracks that will allow heat to escape, and laying down caulking or weather stripping where needed. Similarly attend to doors and windows, which often require additional insulation to keep out the cold and eliminate drafts. Remove or snugly cover window AC units with designated tarps. If possible, consider installing storm doors and windows to add an extra layer of thermal protection between you and outdoor weather conditions.
Keep the Critters Out
You won’t be the only one trying to stay warm when outside temperatures plummet, so consider vermin-proofing your home before the winter weather strikes. Scrutinize the exterior of all buildings and seal off any nooks and crannies where animals can enter and set up residence. Consider investing in pest control or a good bug barrier for the perimeter of your home. If necessary in your area, set out rodent traps.
Keep Equipment Running
Do not take the risk of a heater going out in sub-zero temperatures or frozen pipes flooding your basement. Fall is the time to get all of your essential systems and equipment inspected, serviced, and working in top shape.
Have licensed professionals give your heaters, furnaces, wood stoves, chimneys, gas systems, and plumbing a thorough onceover. Clean and prep your humidifier. Test out your sump pump. Flush sediment from your water heater. Drain and turn off your sprinklers and irrigation systems, and empty and store all hoses in your garage or toolshed.
Clean the gutters and keep them clear of fallen leaves throughout the fall and winter. Have your roof inspected and attend promptly to any necessary repairs. Locate, fill, and reseal any cracks in your driveway or deck. Scrape off flaking exterior paint and give it a fresh coat to prevent weather damage. Store and/or securely cover patio furniture, grills, lawnmowers, and other outdoor items with heavy duty tarps. Test out the snowblower and see to it that it’s in working condition.
With the use of heaters comes increased fire hazards, likelihood for power outages, and risk of carbon monoxide poisoning. Keep your family and your property safe by examining fire extinguishers for functionality and installing fresh batteries in all smoke and CO detectors. Set up an emergency generator and have it ready to go on short notice. Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house. Establish emergency and evacuation plans with your family and review them carefully.
You’ll be spending a lot more time inside as the nights get longer and the temperatures get colder, so invest some time in the autumn for sprucing up your home so that you and your family will remain comfortable all winter long. Organize the garage, give the house a good deep cleaning, put away summer items and warm weather clothing, and give the blinds a thorough dusting. Lastly, don’t forget to switch the directions on the ceiling fans to keep warm air circulating downward and save you even more cash on your energy bill!