Summer is on its way out – even if it doesn’t feel like it! – and fall is on the horizon. That means it’s time to start thinking about how to get your home ready for winter. “Summer hasn’t quite wound down yet, but fall isn’t as far away as it seems,” said Forbes. “Doing a round of simple fall maintenance chores now can save you time, money, and stress when the cold weather comes. ”
Here are five fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about this weekend.
Clean your gutters
Depending on your climate, you may have to get up in those gutters more than once to clear out leaves and other gunk and keep your home safe from flooding and damage. Giving them a look before the leaves fall will help ensure there is room for all that foliage. Once they fall, making sure to clean them out before the first freeze can limit clogs and keep dangerous ice dams away.
Check your chimney
Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. “Creosote buildup causes chimney fires,” said Family Handyman. “You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. If you burn wet wood (which you shouldn’t), have it inspected or cleaned every 50 fires. Don’t remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8-in. layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep.”
Check your roof
Storms, wind, and other weather conditions over the past year could have done damage that you’re not aware of. You definitely don’t want to wait until the first heavy snow to find out you have a leak. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder or just want a professional eye, a pro roofer will typically charge you under $100 to check it out.
Seal it up
There are three important reasons to make sure your home is air tight: 1) Keeping moisture out; 2) Keeping critters out; 3) Keeping warm air in. “Fall is when critters often enter our homes to build a nest and ride out the cold weather,” said Forbes. “So walk around the exterior looking for ways small animals can enter your house and seal them off. A mouse can wriggle through an opening as small as a dime, so look carefully for those small holes.”
Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient so it takes less effort and money to keep warm in the winter. All you need in most cases is weather stripping and caulking.
Disconnect garden hoses from faucets
As soon as the weather dips, it’s time to disconnect those hoses. This simple task can potentially save you a lot of heartache later. “Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets,” said HouseLogic. “Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.” Be sure to also “Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.”