How to prepare your home for fall
Homeowners know that part of taking care of their homes involves preparing for upcoming weather. When the weather starts to turn a bit chilly, it’s time to get out your fall home maintenance checklist to prepare for the quickly approaching winter weather.
Clearing time in your schedule for fall home maintenance can ensure that your home is ready for cold weather, helping you avoid problems that could arise as a result of freezing temperatures, snow and other harsh conditions. We’ll walk you through some home maintenance tips to consider for preparation throughout the fall.
Interior home maintenance checklist for fall
Remember that as the cold air moves in, certain interior components of your home will become critical in keeping you and your family warm and comfortable. Knowing what to look out for as you inspect various home systems can help you stay on top of important maintenance and manage any needed repairs before the system becomes a necessity.
Examining your HVAC system should be a priority for the impending heating season. Bringing in a heating professional can ensure that your furnace filter works well and that the system as a whole can withstand cold weather.
A heating system should be inspected at least once every two years by a professional. In addition, make sure that the area around the system remains clean, any oil needed for the system has been refilled and you have tested the thermostat.
When the temperature drops below freezing, homeowners need to consider the threat of damaged pipes. Pipes that freeze with water inside them run the risk of bursting, which can cause extreme damage, not to mention high water bills. Inspect your plumbing system before the cold arrives, particularly any areas exposed to the outdoors. Check insulation and review best practices for very cold days, such as shutting off outside water when the temperature gets below freezing.
Doors and windows
You’ll also want to look around your doors and windows to check for any signs of air leaks. If you can feel air seeping in around the frames, you can trust that it will make it harder for you to keep your home warm when the cold air moves in.
Fortunately, home improvement stores sell various materials you can use to reduce air flow. Caulk and weather stripping can help you get started.
Fireplaces and chimneys
Many homes also have fireplaces that ensure a comfortable environment, even on the coldest days. However, to make sure that your fireplace is ready for use, you’ll need to call in a chimney sweep. Getting the chimney and flue cleaned out before the next season can help prevent fires from starting in the chimney and ensure that your fireplace is ready for safe use.
When verifying that your chimney has been properly cleaned out, also check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Be sure they have working batteries.
Exterior home maintenance checklist for fall
In addition to checking on your interior home systems in preparation for colder weather, you also have a few exterior home maintenance tasks to manage. The outside of your home takes most of the winter beatings, bearing snow, wind and ice throughout the season.
Proper preparation will help protect your house even further from winter weather.
Check your home’s foundation
Your first step involves looking at the foundation of your home. Check for signs of cracks or water damage, as the cold weather can help accentuate these problems. Repairing any problems during the fall can bring you peace of mind during the winter. You can also help prevent foundation issues during cold weather by keeping your home’s core temperature higher than 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Clean your roof/gutters
Cleaning your roofing and gutters is a DIY task that many homeowners can manage by themselves. Gutters can get clogged with leaves and twigs, so you’ll want to constantly clean them throughout the fall. Eliminate any buildup in the gutters, which can prevent them from properly collecting water and sending it toward the downspouts that take it away from your home.
Check your roof’s shingles (or other materials) for signs that any should be replaced before winter. Old shingles that start to get worn down can eventually lead to leaks. The last thing you want is to have a bad winter storm that causes snow to sit on your roof on top of damaged shingles. If you need work done on the roof, you’ll want to call in a professional.
Inspect and repair exterior walls
As you inspect the outside of your home, look closely at the exterior walls to check for signs of damage, such as cracks in the siding or gaps in the bricks. Not only do you want to avoid cold air seeping into the home but you also do not want to worry about critters setting up camp in your walls, drawn by the attraction of the warmth inside.
Check garage door weatherstripping
Those who have an attached garage know this convenient space can also make it easy for cold air to make its way indoors, driving up heating bills and making the home significantly less comfortable. Get to caulking and repair any small cracks or damage you see. You’ll also want to use weatherstripping anywhere you can feel air moving into the space.
Prepare your driveway
Cold weather can also create problems for your driveway by expanding cracks and damaging paving. Before the weather temperature drops, make an effort to repair as many cracks and holes as possible. This will help keep your driveway ready to face what the winter might bring.
Take care of your lawn and garden
The time has also come to winterize your garden. Preparing the yard now to last through the winter can help your garden look beautiful and in good shape when spring starts.
Here are a few key tasks to take care of during the fall:
- Rake and gather your leaves
- Store your yard decorations
- Fertilize the lawn
- Drain any garden hoses, sprinkler systems and water lines so that the pipes and exterior faucets won’t freeze
- Remove any tree branches
- Prune back any bushes to help the plants look beautiful
Prepare your porch and deck
Moving on to your porch, deck and walkways, take a moment to make sure they are ready for the upcoming winter. Consider taking care of several tasks, such as:
- Check the areas for damage, such as cracks, and repair them as needed.
- Remove any debris, such as leaves, which can lock in moisture by your deck and increase the rate of damage.
- Store your outdoor furniture until after winter (or until the coldest weather subsides).
- Apply a protective weather coating to the wood to help it stand up to the cold.
If your area gets snow, make sure to shovel it quickly to prevent water from sitting on the wood of the deck and don’t use salt on the deck surface itself.
Remember to invest in the right tools for colder months
As a homeowner, you’ll want to put away the lawn mower in winter and get out some important winter tools. Here are a few you’ll want to have on hand:
- A snow shovel. Make sure you have a shovel on hand before the snow starts.
- A generator. A generator can help you cope if something happens to the electricity.
- A humidifier. Winter air is very dry. You can help relieve some of the discomfort it causes in the home with a humidifier.
- A snowblower. If you live in an area where snow is measured in feet rather than inches or if you do not have the desire to shovel your driveway, a snowblower quickly becomes a necessity.
Protect key elements of your home with an affordable home warranty from Cinch
Taking the time to properly winterize your home can help get your house through the coldest months of the year successfully. However, when you face unexpected home repairs, you don’t have to worry about astronautical bills if you have a home protection plan from Cinch.
We design our plans so homeowners know their built-in systems and major appliances are protected. If your HVAC system breaks in the middle of the summer, a home warranty by Cinch allows you to request service at any time online. We’ll also match your repair request to a vetted service technician. Our plans help customers breathe easier knowing they’re covered when issues arise.
See what a home warranty can do for you today. Request a free quote now.