Fall has officially arrived, and with falling leaves and dropping temperatures comes a new set of home maintenance tasks that'll benefit you to complete! Review our list and be sure to keep your home in good condition by handling each one before winter. These steps, at least some of which most homeowners can do themselves, will lower your utility bills and protect your investment!
Clean out the gutters
If you haven’t replaced old gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards, it’s imperative that you keep them flushed of falling leaves. Water can back up against the house and damage roofing, siding and wood trim, plus cause leaks and ice dams. Flush them with water, and check the joints and brackets to make sure everything is in place and tightened. Also, if you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in the gutter, be sure to check your roof for damage as well.
Clear the area at least 1 foot away from exterior walls and rake gunk out of corners and away from the foundation. Cut back tree limbs growing within about 5 feet of the house, or worse, scrubbing the house or roof. This will create better ventilation, help dry out surfaces and prevent decay and damage.
Have your lawn-irrigation system professionally drained
Your sprinkler service will charge $50 to $150, depending on the size of the system. As with draining spigots, this will help avoid freezing and leaky pipes come spring.
Cover air conditioners If you have a window unit, remove it or wrap it in tarp or with a plastic air conditioner cover. This will prevent rusting during the months it will not be used. Also, be sure to vacuum the internal parts of your air conditioner.
Prepare your deck Check your deck for needed repairs. As it gets colder outside, be sure to put away all outdoor furniture and empty soil pots and planters.
Detach the garden hoses Remove the hoses from any outdoor faucets. As it gets colder outside, you run the risk of expanding and cracking the faucet or pipes with backed up water. Start by disconnecting all garden hoses and draining water still in faucets. If you don’t have frost-proof faucets (homes built before ten to 12 years ago typically do not), turn off the shut-off valve inside your home. Make this an early fall priority so that sudden cold weather does not cause damage.
Check for peeling paint If the paint on your exterior walls is peeling, that is a sign that the film is failing and will no longer protect the siding of your home. In order to prevent deterioration and expensive repairs in the future, be sure to take care of peeling paint early.
Seal the driveway Sealing your driveway will help extend the life of the asphalt through cold weather. Inspect it for cracks, repair any damage with driveway filler, and coat with a commercial sealer.
Caulk around windows and doors
If the gap is bigger than the width of a nickel, you need to reapply exterior caulk. Check window glazing putty, too (which seals glass into the window frame). Add weatherstripping as needed around doors, making sure you cannot see any daylight from inside your home.