You hear a lot about spring cleaning, but not so much about what you need to do in the fall. As the season begins to turn to cooler weather and the trees shed their leaves at an alarming rate, you need to start thinking about how to get your home ready for the changes ahead. It is also the perfect time to inspect your home for any needed repairs to ensure that it is not vulnerable to the elements.
Here’s a checklist of things you need to do for your home in the fall:
Check for Cracks
Cracks can form in your foundation, around doors and windows, and in your home’s siding. Cracks aren’t just an aesthetic issue. They can also create opportunities for water or snow to seep into your home, leading to rotting or to the spread of mold, both of which can cause extensive damages.
You can seal many cracks yourself with a little bit of caulk, such as those around window frames and doors. You may need to call in a professional for help with sealing cracks in foundations or other structural elements. Make sure you check your driveways and walkways for cracks, as well.
Check the Paint
Your home’s paint also protects it from water and other corrosive elements. If your paint starts chipping or peeling, it will leave your home vulnerable to damage and decay. It is best to take care of any paint issues before winter comes through since you will leave your house exposed to a lot of water damage otherwise. Take care of any paint touchups now, or invest in a new paint job if it’s needed.
Inspect Your Roof
Loose shingles, cracked underlayment and other issues with your roof can expose your roof to serious water damage come winter. The fall is the perfect time to have your roof inspected for any issues and to have them repaired. Get a full check of your shingles, underlayment, flashings, and more. Even a small crack or defect can lead to significant damage that could cost you thousands of dollars down the line.
Add or Update Weather Stripping
Weather stripping around your home’s doors and your garage doors will help to keep moisture out and to improve the energy efficiency of your home. Unfortunately, weather stripping can become loose and inefficient over time. Check your weather stripping and replace it if necessary. Of course, if you don’t have any weather stripping, now is the time to install it.
Inspect the Fireplace
You don’t want to wait until you are burning a fire in the fireplace to discover that it has a problem. Get the fireplace cleaned and have it inspected for any issues, such as cracks, chemical buildup or blockages. Any of these issues could cause a fire safety hazard, which could lead to devastating consequences.
Change Your Filters
Dirty filters on furnaces can become a fire hazard. Check all your filters and replace them as needed. While you’re at it, have a professional inspect your furnace or heating system for any potential issues. Have any needed repairs or maintenance performed at this time.
Test Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
As much as you will be running your heaters or fireplace this winter, you will need to have a working smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm. Test to make sure that the alarms are working and that the batteries are up-to-date. Since you probably haven’t used either since last season, it’s probably worth changing the batteries preemptively.
Of course, if you don’t have a smoke detector or carbon monoxide alarm, it’s time to get one. Also make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in your home.
Clear the Gutters
Leaf debris can build up in your gutters, blocking them and making them ineffective. Check your gutters and down spouts and clear them of any blockages. You’ll ensure that the water is properly deflected from your home instead of pouring over the edges and gathering near the foundation. While you may not get a lot of rainfall in the coming months, you will likely get a lot of snow and ice, which can melt and turn into water.
Make sure you go through this fall maintenance checklist to keep your home protected all winter long. You can then turn your attention to spring cleaning when the season is over to make sure that your home is looking its best inside and out. You’ll keep your home protected and reduce your risk of needing repairs down the road.