10 Crucial Fall Maintenance Tasks To Prepare Your Home for the Colder Months
As you enjoy the smell and warmth of pumpkin-flavored drinks and candles, pulling up some cozy sweaters as the weather grows colder, it's also important to prepare your home for the winter or colder months to prevent any costly damage later on. Fall is the perfect time to take care of little fixes, repairs, and chores that will help keep your house in tip-top shape as the season changes.
Below we've listed 10 preventative home maintenance tasks you can do now, so you can rest easy and just spend all your time cozied up inside.
1. Clean the gutters and downspouts.
Clogged gutters can cause water to overflow and damage your roof and siding. Neglected gutters are also more prone to wood rot problems, rust, and corrosion. This is why it's important to clean the gutters and downspouts regularly, especially after summer and during fall. Remove any twigs, leaves, dirt, and other debris that may have piled up. Don’t forget to also replace any damaged gutters or downspouts to keep your roof's drainage system flowing smoothly and avoid more expensive repairs.
2. Clean and replace your furnace filter or heating system.
If it has been months since you changed your furnace's filter, now’s the time to do it to keep your system running smoothly. If your filters are clogged, it’s harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, which can seriously increase your utility bills and cost you more money.
This is a crucial maintenance task you need to do to prevent leaks that can cause bigger problems inside your home. Because once there's been a dripping, it’ll be more time-consuming to find the source of the problem. Stand in your yard and use a pair of binoculars to inspect the roof, and see if there are any loose, curled, damaged, or missing shingles. Also scan the roof around vents and chimneys for any damage.
4. Repair leaks around your windows and doors.
Go around your house and inspect any missing or damaged caulk around the windows, doors, and any other entry points for pipes and wires. Then, make sure you seal any gaps with a suitable caulk to prevent moisture from getting inside your walls. Your budget will also thank you, as gaps and leaks can be accounted for higher energy bills.
5. Inspect your home's safety features.
The start of fall is also a great time to check your home's carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Put in fresh batteries and test them to make sure they were installed correctly and are working properly. While you’re at it, clean the fire extinguishers and check for any dents, scratches, and corrosion.
6. Close any water shut-off valves of exterior faucets.
To prepare your home for the colder months, especially if you live in an area with freezing weather, take the necessary steps to ensure that outside faucets don't freeze and burst. Turn off the valves serving exterior faucets, then run the water until the pipes are empty. Draining and disconnecting all garden hoses and storing them in a shed or garage will prevent any water from freezing and damaging the pipes.
7. Fix any cracks in the driveway.
When the weather turns icy, damaged walkways and driveways can be a huge hazard. When water gets into the cracks it freezes, expands, and can make the crack even bigger, even if it started from a small crack. Fixing these problems in the fall is critical to make sure the concrete won't crumble and leave you with a more costly expense—i.e. a bigger hole in your driveway.
8. Clean your outdoor furniture before bringing them in.
Before you pack your outdoor furniture for winter storage, make sure you clean them first as they get a good beating from the sun and other weather elements. Store the items in a garage or shed so they're all spruced up and ready for the next year’s spring and summer season.
9. Fertilize and reseed your lawn.
The key to a great-looking lawn come spring, is to prepare it during the fall, especially before freezing temperatures come in. Because even if the grass stops growing around this time, the roots are actually growing deeper and remaining active. Fall is the best time to aerate your lawn so that moisture and nutrients can get into the roots. Then, spread fertilizer and grass seed.
10. Clean and maintain your garden tools before storing them, then get your winter supplies ready.
This year's spring and summer seasons might have been filled with lots of gardening and yard work, especially since we’ve spent more time at home due to the pandemic. But don’t forget: all those gardening tools and equipment also need cleaning and maintenance before you get them stored for the winter.
If you live in an area with cold and snowy winters, fall is also the best time to stock up on winter supplies. Check the condition of snow shovels and ice scrapers and replace them if necessary. If you’re using a snow blower, you might also want to check it now and have it serviced.