As the leaves start to fall, and pumpkin-everything shows up in stores and the weather begins to cool down (still waiting on this one!!!), there are a handful of important tasks that should be completed around your house to properly prepare it for the winter months to come. These are our Top 8 must-do maintenance items so you don't fall behind this season:
- Gutters: Clean gutters and downspouts and make sure all drainage areas are completely free of pesky leaves and debris. Consider installing gutter guards to make the job a lot easier.
- Windows/Doors: Change out your summer screens with storm windows and doors. Consider installing weather stripping or caulking around your windows and doors to prevent drafts and to decrease heating bills.
- HVAC: Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system (monthly). Contact a licensed professional to inspect and service your heating systems to ensure optimal performance and prevent costly repairs and potential hazards.
- Detectors: Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and install fresh batteries. These detectors save lives and are critical to have (functioning properly) in your home.
- Chimney: Have your wood-burning fireplace inspected, cleaned, and repaired to prevent chimney fires and carbon monoxide poisoning.
- Roof: Hire a licensed professional to examine your roof for wear and tear. If the shingles are curling, buckling or cracking, replace them. Also, check the flashing around skylights, pipes, and chimneys. If you have any leaks or gaps, heavy snow and ice will find its way in.
- Lawn/Yard Care: Fall is a good time for lawn maintenance. Consider aerating your lawn; it will allow moisture and nutrients to get into the roots. Fertilize your lawn to ensure healthy spring grass growth. This is also an ideal time to sow cool-season grasses such as fescue and rye - it will give them the opportunity to germinate and develop a good root system before freezing temperatures arrive. It's also the right time to fertilize turf grasses, preferably with slow-release, all-natural fertilizer. That will mean a better-looking lawn come spring.
- Pipes: To prevent outer water pipes from bursting when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all the water is drained from the pipes, if not; the water can freeze up and damage the pipes. Wrap water pipes that run along exterior walls with insulation to save energy and also prevent them from freezing and bursting.