As the air gets crisper and the leaves start to fall, many homeowners start to think about how to best prepare their homes for the impending winter. Sure, your list is probably a mile long, but which tasks are most important? Which jobs should you put at the top of your maintenance list? We’ve listed five of the most important fall home maintenance tasks here.
- Inspect your roof. Your roof will take a beating from wind and snow this winter, so you should be sure that it’s in top condition before the season starts. How do you do that? Well, first you should clear away all of the leaves or branches up there, particularly in the valleys and the chimney area. Check for any loose shingles or flashing gaps or cracks. Not only will you lengthen the life of your roof, you’ll improve its appearance as well. You could conduct this inspection yourself, or you could give us a call. We have the knowledge and experience to inspect and maintain your roof at any point in the year.
- Clean your gutters. A clogged gutter is an expensive repair waiting to happen. A gutter filled with leaves, branches, and debris can create ice dams, which will cause a great deal of damage. Ice dams will allow water to pool on your roof, and the water will gradually seep into your house. Additionally, a clogged gutter could cause foundation damage should the water pour over the sides of the gutter and collect around your foundation. Fortunately, it’s not difficult to remove the debris from your gutter, as long as you’ve got a very tall ladder and no fear of heights. (If you do? That’s ok— we can help you out.)
- Check your seals. A draft around a window or a door basically means you’re tossing money away. Inspect all of your windows and doors to determine if the seals and weather stripping are all in good shape. Sometimes a visual assessment is sufficient, but if you’re not sure, there’s a quick and easy way to check. We suggest taking a lit candle and go around the perimeter of each window and door; if the flame flickers or the smoke is drawn in a certain direction, you can determine where the cold air is actually entering. Then, you can easily replace the weather stripping or caulk there. If you’re interested in further weatherproofing, you can cover the windows with plastic window insulation. This stuff is very easy to apply; you simply cut it to size and blow-dry the edges so that they stick to the window. Your windows will be draft-free for the season.
- Check your fireplace. There’s nothing better than a crackling fire when the temperature drops, but your winter dream can turn into a nightmare if you haven’t checked your fireplace flue and damper. Before you build your first fire, shine a flashlight up into the flue to ensure that the damper will open and close properly. Be sure that no birds have chosen your flue to make their home, and that there are no branches or leaves obstructing the chimney. Additionally, you should have the creosote buildup cleaned out of your fireplace flue every couple of years.
- Prep your yard. If you’ve got a lot of trees on your property, now is a good time to assess them for poor health. A damaged tree could lead to falling limbs during a winter storm, which could lead to power loss or damage to your home. Fully rake your lawn one last time, and add mulch to your flowerbeds and garden to keep the dormant plants safe throughout the winter. Be sure to detach your garden hoses, allowing them to drain fully before you store them. Now is also a good time to winterize your lawn equipment, such as your mower, trimmers, and more. This will prolong the life of the equipment.
If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed by the idea of getting all of this important maintenance finished before winter arrives, contact us! We’d be happy to help you tackle this list so you can enjoy your winter in peace and comfort.