As the season begins to change, it’s time to prep your home for falling leaves, cooler weather, and, eventually, winter storms. Tackling a few fall home maintenance tasks now can help ward off issues later in the season, so you can enjoy everything you love about autumn worry-free. Most of the tasks listed below are well within the average homeowner’s ability. But even if you’d rather hire a professional to handle them, it can be well worth the expense. You’ll save money in the long run by preventing costly (and potentially dangerous) damage to your home. Follow this fall maintenance checklist and learn essential tips for cleaning gutters, roofs, fireplaces, and more.
Clean Your Gutters
Install gutters and downspouts if they don’t already exist. Before winter’s first significant rainfall, make sure gutters and downspouts are clear. Clean the gutters by using a brush to clear the gutters’ debris. Check and replace any downspouts that are worn or clogged. Check electrical equipment, including light switches, outlets, and light fixtures, for any frayed wires or rusted-out connections. Inspect heating and air-conditioning systems for problems. Make Sure You Have Access to FireplacesWhat you do: Move burning embers away from the home. Keep fireplaces and chimneys clean. Wash down all firewood and flammable debris, including hay, stumps, twigs, leaves, and other combustibles. Check for and use the screen to prevent embers from falling into the home.
Clean Your Roof and Siding
After a long, hot summer, you’ve probably noticed that the rain and storms you normally see in the early fall have only become sporadic. Or perhaps your rain gutters haven’t been swept in a while, resulting in lots of debris building up and clogging the system. Either way, one or more of these problems could spell trouble down the road, especially when the seasons start to change. Fortunately, there’s a simple way to fix both problems: simply clean your roof and siding, and get ahead of potential problems before they start. Cleaning your roof will keep it in good shape for the next couple of months, and cleaning your siding will give it a protective coat that will last you through winter and into spring.
Clean Your Fireplace and Chimney
As with a well-maintained chimney, a fireplace should be maintained regularly in order to prevent the build-up of creosote, a flammable and toxic substance, and chimney fires. The best way to clean a fireplace is with a chimney sweep. A chimney sweep will remove any leaves, dead plant matter, flammable materials, or other debris from the chimney, keeping your fireplace safe for use, and warm throughout the season. Ask your family and friends if they’ve used a chimney sweep before, and if so, ask for their recommendations. Also, they can provide you with a list of trusted contractors that are certified by the Professional Chimney Sweeping Institute of America. Finally, don’t forget to make sure that your chimney is completely clear of any obstructions before use.
Inspect Your Home for Problems
Now’s the time to ensure that your home’s foundations and interior are all in good shape. Take the time to inspect your home with an objective eye and check for problem areas. Check your foundation for cracks or leakage from water leaking into your home. Look for unnecessary drains, pipes, and other appliances. Get your roof checked or fixed, replacing any damaged or broken shingles or gutters. What about your fireplaces? How do they work? Are your chimneys clean? Do you have an annual cleaning and inspection done? Take a few minutes to look around your home to be sure everything’s in good working order. Check your furnace filters and replace them if needed.
Do a Fall Checkup
Do an inspection of your home and have a professional take a look before fall. If there are any small cracks or crevices that may allow water or snow to enter your home, it’s time to make some repairs, and if you notice that any large cracks on your roof, it might be time to hire a professional to remove them before it lets in snow and ice. As mentioned above, if your gutters need cleaning or replacing, get that done before the water gets on your home. Gutters should be cleaned and free of debris at least once a year, depending on how much rain falls in your area. If yours is clogged with leaves, it’s probably a good idea to hire a professional to remove them so they don’t freeze to the roof and cause dangerous leaks. And if you notice that your chimney is blocked with a tree limb, consider having it trimmed.
Keep an Eye on the Weather
The autumn season is a great time to enjoy the sunshine and the changing of the seasons. While you’ll have plenty of beautiful weather to enjoy as you carve pumpkins and wear sweaters, you can’t be too careful about weather conditions. Temperatures can drop quickly after a rainy day or during an afternoon thundershower. If your home is close to rivers, lakes, or other bodies of water, be sure to keep track of incoming weather forecasts and take action if the forecast calls for precipitation. Keep your gutters clean and maintained so your home doesn’t catch fire from soot or melting ice. Fold Over Outdoor FurnitureAs the temperatures continue to drop, it’s best to move your patio furniture indoors.
As the old saying goes, if you don’t like the weather, just wait a few minutes. Then you’ll get the opposite of what you asked for. In the meantime, I hope you enjoy autumn in the best way possible. This guide helps you prepare for the season, as well as saves you money in the long run. Follow these tips and make sure your home looks beautiful on these upcoming autumn evenings.