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Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

unclog gutter

As temperatures begin to drop, homeowners everywhere are preparing their homes for the colder seasons and the harsh weather. Fall is the perfect time to start preparing your home for the winter months.

Follow these tips to get your house ready for the long and cold ahead:

Give Your Gutters and Roof Some Attention

According to Better Homes and Gardens, you'll want to clean out your gutters and downspouts. They can easily become clogged from debris and leave pools of water on your roof, which may lead to damage.

If you've had your gutters for awhile, you may also want to hire a professional home inspector to take a look at them. They may require replacement soon.

Roof Roof, a roofing company, indicated the importance of preparing this part of your home for colder weather. Call a local roofing company for inspection and look out for potential issues. The cold weather can turn even the smallest problems into substantial ones that may lead to pricey repairs.

Evaluate Your Fireplace

Chances are your fireplace will likely get much more use during the colder months. Preparing this feature and ensuring it is in good shape before you start using it is crucial. Soot and creosote build-up can impact the efficiency of your fireplace greatly.

Consider hiring a chimney sweep or cleaning it up yourself.

Check Your Heating System

Speaking of sources of warmth, you'll also want to give your heater an evaluation. Cleaning and replacing dirty furnace filters and ensuring this appliance is ready for the chillier weather is important.

If you need to invest in a new heating ventilation and air conditioning system, shop around and check out the modern fuel-efficient options available. They can save a great deal when it comes to your heating bill this winter.

And More Insulation and Upgrade to Energy-Efficient Products

If you haven't already, consider installing additional insulation in your home to increase the fuel efficiency in your house, according to Bob Vila, a home improvement company.

"Heating and cooling amount to 47% of the energy costs in your home. Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on heating and cooling costs, or up to 10% on your total annual energy bill," says Katie Cody, spokeswoman for Lowe's. "Air leaks from windows and doors are easy to find by moving your hand around the frame. Applying weather stripping and caulk to these areas will help cut down on drafts."

New Energy Star windows are another way to increase energy efficiency and decrease your heating bill.

Prepare Your Patio or Deck

According to Quick and Dirty Tips, when you prepare for the winter, you'll also want to ensure your outdoor space is protected against snow and extreme temperatures. Store your patio furniture in a safe spot that is also climate-controlled. Before storing, make sure you clean, and dry all pieces to avoid the damaging effects of rust.

If you own an outdoor grill, it is also critical to winterize this appliance with the approach of winter. If you decide you want to store it outside, invest in a strong, durable cover to keep it protected.

The fall is also an especially great time to clean your deck and seal it if necessary. Sealing it will protect it from the water damage it may otherwise suffer from if you skip this step before winter settles in.

Test Your Alarms and Detectors

Whenever you're completing maintenance on your home, it is also a good time to ensure security. Check your smoke, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide detectors and check that they have full battery power. In case of an emergency, you want to make sure these devices are working properly.

Better Homes and Gardens also suggested going over fire escape plans with your family and ensuring everyone knows what to do in case of an emergency.

Repair Any Cracks

The ice and snow that rolls in with cooler weather can cause a great deal of damage. If your driveway and sidewalks already have cracks in them, ice can increase the damage. Repair these cracks, or consider re-pouring cement to ensure optimal protection this winter.

Any cracks that are more than 1/8 inch wide may prove to cause far more damage. Be on the lookout for these.

Shut Off the Valves of Outdoor Faucets

Because outside faucets and inground irrigation systems may freeze, burst and cost you a great deal of money, you may want to shut off the faucet to the drain line. Styrofoam faucet covers also can be protective options you can easily find at a local hardware store.

The approach of fall is an exciting time of year. It also serves as a great time to prepare for winter weather. Take the time on a beautiful weekend to get your home ready for the colder months ahead.

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