Summer days are slowly dwindling, and the weather is cooling down, which can only mean one thing—the fall season will be here before you know it!
Autumn is the perfect time for apple picking, pumpkin patches, and watching the leaves change into vibrant colors. However, between all the fall fun, it’s wise to squeeze in the following home maintenance tasks to prepare your home for the cold, snowy winter ahead.
Essential Tasks for Your Fall Maintenance Checklist
1. Clean Your Gutters
Colorful autumn leaves are beautiful, but they can clog your gutters when they fall. Wait until your trees are bare, then clear your gutters of debris to ensure they don’t accumulate standing water, which can lead to moisture damage.
While you’re cleaning your gutters, make sure your gutters and downspouts are securely fastened. If they’re sagging, they may need to be tightened before the winter.
2. Inspect Your Roof
While cleaning your gutters, take a peek at your roofing system. Do you have any loose, missing, or broken roofing shingles? If so, this is a great time to get them repaired or replaced. When rain, sleet, and snowstorms strike later this winter, your roof is your home’s first line of defense, so it’s crucial to ensure it is capable of doing its job.
If there are any places you can’t see on your roof from your vantage point, you should call a professional contractor to complete a roofing inspection (safely) for you.
3. Remove Window and Door Screens
Window screens are a lovely way to enjoy the beautiful sunshine and fresh breezes in the summer, but when fall arrives, it’s time to store these screens away. Before storing your screens, clean them and repair any damage, so they’re ready to be used when you pull them out next spring.
4. Store Your Summer Furniture
If you have outdoor furniture on your porch or patio, such as couches, rocking chairs, or rugs that aren’t waterproof, it’s wise to store them in your garage (or invest in waterproof furniture covers) before they get too wet from rain or snowstorms.
5. Check Your Smoke Detector
Before you turn on your heater and begin using your cozy fireplace this winter, make sure your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors are in good working order. Replace the batteries, if needed, and make sure you have backup batteries, just in case.
6. Inspect Your Heater and Fireplace
What do you use to warm your home in the winter? Whether you use a heating system, fireplace, wood stove, or a combination of the above, you must get them serviced or inspected before using them.
Heating systems last longer if they’re serviced each year, and hiring a chimney sweep to clean the creosote (a combination of wood tar, organic vapors, and moisture) from your chimney can eliminate the risk of dangerous fires during the chilly winter months.
7. Change Your Ceiling Fan’s Direction
Changing the direction of your ceiling fan may seem like a small detail, but it creates an upward draft (instead of a downward one) that will push warm air down instead of keeping it trapped near your ceiling. This simple switch can keep your family warm on chilly nights!
8. Drain Your Sprinkler System and Remove Hoses
When the ground freezes, your irrigation lines can freeze and burst (even the ones buried underground!), leading to broken sprinkler heads. Toward the beginning of fall, turn off the water system, shut off the automatic controller, drain water by opening the valves, and remove the remaining water from sprinkler heads before placing them back in the ground.
Additionally, remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets to ensure your plumbing pipes inside your exterior walls won’t freeze, expand, or crack in freezing temperatures. Store your hoses safely inside your garage until the spring.
9. Fill in Driveway Cracks
Do you have any cracks in your driveway? If so, when water seeps into these cracks and freezes, it expands, which can cause hairline cracks, flaking, and other issues with your driveway or sidewalks. Before the first cold snap, fill gaps with a driveway filler, then coat the surface with a commercial sealer.
10. Examine Your Siding
Is your paint peeling, bubbling, or flaking? Is your siding warped, cracked, or distorted? If so, you may need to invest in siding repair or replacement.
Damaged siding is more prone to water infiltration, which can lead to fungus growth, structural damage, and rotting—especially during winter when moisture is more common. If your siding is in good condition but looks drab, you may only need a few fresh coats of paint.
11. Apply Fresh Caulking
Caulking your home’s exterior and interior is of the utmost importance before the cooler weather arrives. It’s important to caulk where the masonry meets your siding, where pipes enter your home, or around windows and door frames since these areas are most vulnerable to moisture intrusion.
If you notice your home is still drafty, it may be time to invest in replacement windows or doors to keep your family cozy this winter. Plus, you’ll likely save hundreds on utility bills!
12. Prune Your Plants
Prune your plants, shrubs, and trees toward the end of fall. Keep at least three feet of space between your home and any plants to ensure your siding doesn’t accumulate unwelcome moisture dripping from leaves and to ensure tree branches don’t fall onto (or into) your roofing system during powerful storms.
Keep Your Home Cozy, Warm, and Dry with New Windows and Doors from Kelly Window and Door
When you’re checking items off your home maintenance list this fall, call our team at Kelly Window and Door if you notice your windows and doors need some extra tender, loving care.
We offer beautiful, durable, energy-efficient windows and doors that can elevate your home’s curb appeal while keeping your family toasty-warm this winter. See what these North Carolina homeowners had to say about our stellar craftsmanship and top-notch products!