Fall PreparationConsidering that fall is just around the corner, it’s time to take the necessary steps to prepare your home for the cooler months ahead. Autumn is not only the busiest season for homeowners to prepare for winter; it is also the right time to cater to any damages before the first frost comes along. Here are a few tips that will keep your home running in optimal condition throughout the winter.

Exterior Maintenance

Start by checking the areas where the masonry meets the siding for cracks and caulks, where wires and pipes come into the house and around the windows and doorframes to prevent the heat from escaping. It is a good idea to install storm doors, remove screens and, repair, clean, and spray with a dry protective coating and store them in a dry area of the garage or basement before storing them. Check the exterior walls to for any blistering or peeling because this may be a sign that the paint can no longer protect the building.

Next inspect the roof for any loose or missing shingles because it the forefront when it comes to protecting your home. If it doesn’t function properly, it could lead to water damage, which will result in deterioration to wood, drywall and insulation, making HVAC, plumbing and electrical systems vulnerable. The best approach is to proactively address repairs in the fall rather than dealing with a roof issue during a rainstorm. And most importantly, have a licensed professional fix any issues with regards to your home especially the roof.

Clean out the downspouts and gutters and tighten the brackets and inspect the joints if needed. Clogged gutters are one of the biggest causes of ice dams so it is highly recommended that you replace them with new gutters that have built in leaf guards. Other aspects to check with regards to the exterior are the pool cover for damage, weather stripping on garage doors and inspect your driveway for cracks.

Interior Maintenance

Heating and cooling are one of the biggest costs in a home, 47 percent to be exact, and proper sealing and insulation can save you up to 20 percent on these costs and up to 10 percent on your entire energy bill. Hire a licensed professional to check the heating and cooling of your home because if properly serviced, they will have a fewer problems, last longer and use fuel more efficiently. Next, examine your woodstove and fireplace to ensure they are in good working order and make sure the insert’s door gasket is tightly sealed.

Simultaneously, have the chimney cleaned and inspect and clean the glass door for any cracks. A clogged chimney may result in a chimney fire so it is important to have it serviced by a professional. With regards to the basement, check it for loose frames, drafts or cracked panes. It is important to clean the interior parts of air conditioners, and wrap the exterior unit with a plastic or tarp to prevent any rusting of crucial parts. Finally, thoroughly clean any dehumidifiers for bacteria and spores and check the batteries in your carbon dioxide and smoke detectors and replace if necessary.

Garden and Yard

This is the right time to organize your garage and put away any tools you may not need for longer service life. Remove the leaves from the lawn, plant spring flowering bulbs and reseed patchy areas if needed. You will not need your yard equipment for a few months so store them appropriately including draining the fuel from leaf blowers, lawn mowers, chain saws or any other gas operated equipment.

Speaking of equipment, make sure your snow equipment is in good working order, and keep important equipment handy such as shovels, snow blowers and roof rakes. Finally, drain the garden hoses and turn off the outdoor water valves during the winter season. Inspect and replenish the bird feeders and take note that it is important to continue feeding birds all through the winter months.

Deck and Porch

Inspect the railings, stairs, decks and supports to ensure they are sturdy enough to withstand the winter season. Check the deck for any repairs and put away or cover barbeques and any other outdoor cooking appliances. Lastly, empty the soil from pots and planters because the dirt left in pots may cause them to crack when it freezes.