As the weather cools, preparing your home for falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and, eventually, winter storms is important.
Tackling a few fall home maintenance activities now can help prevent problems later in the season, allowing you to enjoy all you love about autumn without anxiety.
Most of the home-prepping activities listed below are well beyond the capabilities of the ordinary homeowner, but hiring a professional to undertake them can be well worth the cost.
You'll save money in the long run by avoiding costly (and perhaps deadly) home damage.
Follow our fall home maintenance checklist to discover how to clean gutters, roofs, and fireplaces, among other things.
Homeowner Prep Tips For Fall
Home Prepping #1: Clean Your Gutters
Maintaining the roof's drainage system is crucial because it removes hundreds of gallons of water from the exterior of your home and foundation walls each year.
Damaged gutters can cause basement flooding and exterior damage. Clogged gutters lead to rust and corrosion. The first homeowner prep is to clean and mesh-guard the gutters before the leaves fall to prevent debris buildup.
Home Prepping #2: Repair Air Leaks
A home with window and door air leaks is like an unbuttoned coat. Sealing drafty homes with caulk and weatherstripping can cut heating costs by 20%. Weatherstripping is the cheapest way to lower heating and cooling expenditures.
This simple substance minimizes drafts and makes your home warmer year-round. However, weatherstripping deteriorates, so check it regularly. Closing a door or window on paper may indicate a weatherstripping issue.
Check missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, electrical, cable, phone, and gas access points in addition to weatherstripping. Use caulk to fill gaps. Replacement windows may be necessary if drafts persist. Glass with several panes, spacers, or filler gasses may fix these issues. A professional can replace inefficient windows with more energy-efficient ones to improve comfort and lower heating costs.
Home Prepping #3: Check Your Roof
A leaky roof is one of the worst homeowner issues. After dripping begins, pinpointing the source can take a while. The homeowner prep is to fix them in autumn before ice, and even winter winds convert problems into disasters.
Make a top-to-bottom roof inspection with binoculars. Check wind and cracks in ridge shingles. Valley and vent/chimney metal flashing should be checked for damage.
Also, examine the roof for missing, curling, or broken shingles. Large accumulations of granules in your gutters indicate that your roof is losing its covering, which can lead to more significant issues. Ensure gutters flow smoothly.
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Home Prepping #4: Prevent Freezing Temperatures From Damaging Faucets
Protect exterior faucets and in-ground irrigation systems from freezing in cold weather. To drain the pipe, close any outside faucet, shut off valves, and open the tap. Several home centers sell styrofoam faucet covers for faucets without shut-off valves or "freeze-proof" materials. Follow manufacturer draining and winter protection instructions to freeze-proof an in-ground irrigation system.
Home Prepping #5: Clean The Furnace Filter
Furnace filters collect dust from your home. Other than a dirty furnace, clogged filters can cause rising utility expenditures. However, you can regularly clean the filters to avoid this.
You can either choose disposable filters that can only be vacuumed once and then replaced or use foam filters that you can vacuum any time and only need to be replaced once broken.
When cleaning foam filters, remove and clean metal or electrostatic filters with a strong water spray and vacuum using a gentle brush.
Home Prepping #6: Check Your Furnace
Get a professional heating system checkup once a year. Consider scheduling this task early in the fall before the heating season to prevent the last-minute rush.
Here are signs you need a professional check sooner:
- Poor Performance: Unreliable heating could indicate a variety of issues. Blocked heating ducts, misaligned burners, or a dying blower motor are possible causes. However, clean your furnace filter first.
- Erratic Behavior: A broken thermostat or a furnace that isn't appropriately set may cause this.
- Noisy Belts: Unusual screeches and whines may indicate that belts attached to the blower motor have become worn or broken.
Home Prepping #7: Get Your Fireplace Ready
If you rarely use your fireplace, examine it annually for damage and risks. Find creosote, a combustible wood byproduct, in the flue. An overloaded flue or chimney might start a fire. Inspect your chimney annually for creosote. Once each cord of wood is burned, examine the fireplace or wood stove flue if you use it often.
Chimney sweeps are great for inspecting the complete chimney system. With a bright flashlight, shine up the flue to look for deposits nearing 1/8 inch thick. A chimney expert should remove these deposits.
Here are some things you can do:
- Inspect your chimney for damage or blockages and fit the flue cap. Unlike uncovered flues, chimney caps prevent birds from nesting.
- Check the flue for obstructions.
- Cracks or loose joints in brick chimneys.
- To overcome access issues, utilize binoculars.
- Try the damper, the metal plate that opens and shuts the flue above the firebox. Make sure it works by moving it to open and closed.
These are just some of the home-prepping activities you can do this fall. Watch out for Part 2 by clicking this link.