Use this fall home maintenance checklist to prepare your home and yard for the cold weather and upcoming winter season.
- Clean Gutters– Clean your gutters and downspouts and make sure all drainage areas are unblocked. Gutter guards are a great product to keep debris from piling up in your gutters.
- Caulk– Caulk cracks or use window stripping around doors and windows. Sealing any cracks or drafts will help keep the cold out, keep your rooms warmer, and save you in heating costs.
- Inspect Roof– Inspect your roof for any wear and tear such as cracking or curling shingles and if necessary replace them. Also check for leaks around skylights, pipes, and chimneys. Repair as necessary or consult a professional roofer. You might be able to locate a company by searching terms similar to roofers in Herndon, VA, or you could ask friends and family for a recommendation if that was more preferable.
- Seal Your Driveway– When snow and ice do arrive, if you have any cracks, gaps, or holes in your driveway, they could become worse and expand. You can easily seal your own driveway on a weekend. See this step-by-step video to take you through the process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zj2KVAcSt4&list=PL9D735A07C67835EF
- Prep Exterior Pipes– To prevent outside pipes from freezing, you should close any shut-off valves serving the outside faucets. Open the outside facet to drain the line. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes.
- Cover Air Conditioner– If you use window units, remove them from the windows and store them properly. For a central outside box unit, it’s a good idea to cover it with a plastic cover to prevent any parts from rusting. Before you cover your air conditioning unit for the fall, it is advisable to get it checked to prevent any problems in the new future.
- Check and Clean Your Heating System– Whatever method of heating you use in your home, you will want it ready to use when needed. If you have a wood-burning fireplace, have it inspected and cleaned. Check the chimney as well. If you a gas, wood, or pellet stove, inspect them closely for any damaged or loose parts and give them a good cleaning. For furnace or heating systems, clean or replace the filters. This will assure that heat is reaching your desired rooms more effectively and efficiently. In the event that you don’t have a heating system, now might be a good time to get one. You can order it from a reputable heat pump supplier who can ensure better quality and longevity for the heating system. *Extra Tip-Reverse your ceiling fan during winter months to redistribute warm air from the ceiling. And remember to clean your humidifiers regularly.
- Garden & Lawn Care– In your garden, remove dead annuals and mulch your perennials- it’s best to mulch them after the first hard freeze. Also trim dead branches from trees.
For your lawn, fall is the time to fertilize and reseed so you have a fuller, more beautiful lawn in spring. Apply a winterizer fertilizer that builds resistance to cold and provides nutrients to extend the green period in the fall and green up quicker in the spring. Reseeding in the fall is also important. Just be sure to keep the grass and seed watered.
Routinely rake your leaves or blow them off so they don’t compact on your grass. Raked leaves can be used in your compost or add them to your flower bed as a blanket. You can also use a mower to shred leaves into fine pieces to use as mulch.
Remember to clean all your lawn and garden tools before you store them away. Drain fuel from all gas operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws before storing away for the winter. Also test your snow blower and organize all your shovels and snow gear so they are accessible and ready to use for that first snow.
- Home Safety Review– Experts at PreFix (view their site here) may recommend that you replace your smoke alarm batteries and make sure that you have one smoke alarm installed on every floor of our house. This could prevent occasional repairs and maintain it for a longer duration. Also, consider installing a carbon monoxide detector. It’s an easy and expensive way to assure safety from this very harmful gas that is odorless and colorless. Your home should also have at least one fire extinguisher- especially in or near the kitchen. If you already have a fire extinguisher, check the pressure gauge and make sure the lock pin is firmly in place. It’s also good to review or create a fire escape plan that everyone in your home knows in case of emergency.
- Pest Control– As the weather gets cold, pests and rodents will seek shelter indoors and look for a warm place to nest. To prevent this, repair any damaged door and window screens, screen the vents and openings to chimneys, seal cracks on the outside of the home especially near utility and pipe entries, and check weather stripping around basement windows and foundation and replace if necessary.
All products and tools we suggest in the article are available in our stores. Just visit our Lawn and Garden Department, Electrical Department, or Paint Department for help with your fall home maintenance checklist.