As the seasons start to change, it’s the perfect time to prep your home for the colder months by getting ahead on your home maintenance. Tackling a few tasks now can help you reduce energy costs and avoid property damage during winter, allowing you and your family to enjoy a stress-free holiday season. Follow our home maintenance checklist and learn tips on cleaning gutters, prepping your lawn, sealing cracks, and more.
How to Prepare Your Home In the Fall
Complete these tasks around your house to help you prepare for the colder temperatures and changing seasons.
Check Doors and Windows
Check your doors and windows to see if there are any openings and cracks. Caulking and sealing these gaps helps prevent water from entering your home and keeps heat from escaping. A well-insulated house can help you reduce your energy bills, which usually increase during the winter when you're using more heat to warm your home.
Inspect Your Roof
Before the cooler weather starts to settle in, take time to inspect your roof for missing shingles, holes, and weak spots. Any loose or missing shingles might lead to leaks that can be difficult to repair during winter. Plus, roof damage often results in damage to the rest of your home. If you run into any roofing problems, you may want to work with a licensed contractor to ensure the repairs are done correctly.
Clean Gutters And Downspouts
Clean out your gutters and downspouts to ensure your room’s drainage system runs smoothly during the fall and winter. Gutters and downspouts help keep your home’s exterior and foundation walls from experiencing water damage, but if they’re clogged, they can wreak havoc on your house. Once you clean your gutters, consider installing mesh gutter guards to help keep debris and leaves out of your drainage system.
Check Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Change the batteries of your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, and be sure to vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Then, ensure the detectors are working properly by pressing the test button or hold a smoke source — e.g., a candle you can blow out — near the unit to see if it responds. Also, ensure smoke detectors are installed on every floor of your home, including the basement. Performing all these tasks can help protect you and your family from disaster.
Clean Your Filters
Filters help capture dust and other particles that would otherwise travel throughout your home. However, filters get clogged, making it harder for your house to maintain a comfortable temperature, increasing your energy bill. If you have disposable filters, you should ideally replace them every three months. For foam filters, use a vacuum cleaner with a soft brush attachment to clean them. If your filter is metal or electrostatic, take it out and wash it with a strong water spray.
Store or Cover Your Outdoor Furniture
When it gets colder, it’s a good idea to bring your outdoor furniture inside your house for the winter. If you don’t have extra storage space, use covers to help protect your outdoor furniture, appliances, and tools from the elements. Also, check and make sure your covers are clean and don’t have holes.
Fix Cracks in Concrete, Stone, and Brick
Whether in your driveway, walkway, or steps, cracks need to be sealed, especially when fall and winter arrive. If water gets into these cracks during the colder months, there’s a good chance the water will freeze and make the openings even bigger. Sealing these cracks now helps prevent them from turning into an expensive repair.
While you’re at it, check for uneven sections, loose railings on steps, or any other potential problems around your walkways to ensure your home’s exterior is as safe as possible.
Prep Your Lawn for Winter
There are a few things you can do to your lawn to ensure it’s healthy and beautiful by the time spring arrives. First, rake up any fallen leaves and aerate your soil to allow your lawn and garden beds to breathe. Then, fertilize and winterize your grass, trees, and shrubs to give your greenery the proper nourishment it needs during the winter months.
The fall is also a good time to clear trees and branches near electrical posts, power lines, fences, your house, or your neighbor’s home. Trees can create a lot of property damage, so trimming them may help reduce the risk of filing a claim.
Inspect and Clean the Fireplace Chimney
There’s nothing like cozying up to a roaring fire on a brisk winter night. But before you start chopping firewood, inspect your chimney to see if it needs to be cleaned. Ideally, you should sweep your chimney every 50-70 burns to reduce buildup and soot. While cleaning your chimney, be sure to also inspect for obstructions, cracks, and signs of water damage.
While the unexpected can happen anytime, these fall home maintenance tasks can help lessen your chances of disaster and filing a claim. If you’re looking for reliable homeowners insurance, you’ve come to the right place. Mercury offers best-in-class coverage at an affordable rate.