Fall Home Maintenance: How to Prepare Your House for the Winter

October 29, 2019

How to Prepare Your House for the Winter

The days are becoming shorter and the temperature is beginning to dip – and you know what that means. It’s fall home maintenance season!   


While indoor and outdoor home maintenance can be hard work, taking the time to ensure that your home is protected from the elements could save a ton of money in the long run. 


Keeping a regular fall home maintenance schedule is also a great way to root-out any minor problems that could eventually lead to long-term damage.


In order to help you out, we’ve outlined 7 of the most important household tasks to get you prepared for the winter months! 


If you check these all these off, reward yourself with a much-deserved pumpkin spice latte!

 

Fall Home Maintenance #1: Prune the Trees and Rake the Leaves

First things first, it’s time to do some yard work! 


If you have trees on your property, it’s important to prune them properly to avoid branches falling in winter storms. This could cause damage to your home or property that could be avoidable with some trimming. 


Fall home maintenance


Another thing to do it clean up the leaves before snow begins to fall. While it might not seem important, snow on top of leaves can inhibit spring growth. 


To make the process easier, grab a lightweight rake, some gardening gloves, and paper bags that are strong enough to hold wet leaves. 

 

Fall Home Maintenance #2: Winterize Your Water Lines and Sprinkler System

When fall hits, it’s possible for overnight temperatures to dip below freezing. And if you don’t take proper care of your water lines, it could leave you with water damage.

To avoid this and protect your house or property from any damage, it’s important to properly winterize your sprinkler system and water lines. 



Start by locating the faucets, removing the hoses, and draining out any water. Most faucets are frost-free and will automatically drain any leftover water.


If you plan for your house or property to be vacant for a longer period of time it is best to winterize your plumbing. This includes shutting off your main water line and draining all water from your pipes. 


For sprinkler systems, you will want to make sure you use an air compressor to clear the water lines to prevent any water backflow or pipe breakage.


And if you want to keep an extra eye on things, install a Notion Sensor inside your home or property to monitor the temperature and help detect any water leak. If the temperature goes beyond your selected ranges or water is detected, you’ll be notified on your smartphone. 

 

Fall Home Maintenance #3: Make Exterior Repairs

Before the winter months roll in and the weather gets colder, it’s important to attend to any exterior repairs. 


Start by taking a walk around your house and property; look for any signs of damage to either the roof, foundation, or other parts of the exterior.


It’s best to take care of any repairs before the snow and frost come. Not only will it become much more difficult to do in the winter months, but it can also increase the risk of further damage or flooding. 



When checking the property for areas to repair, pay special attention to your roof. An annual roof inspection is critical for identifying minor repair issues before they turn into major issues.


If you feel comfortable, you can do a roof inspection yourself. Otherwise, we recommend hiring a roofing professional.


If you do choose to inspect yourself, the common issues you should be looking for are shingles that are curling up, cracked seals, chimney cap damage, growth of moss, or any leaves that are stuck in the roof valleys. 



Keep in mind, it’s very important to get this done before the snow falls and puts additional weight on the roof. A simple inspection can not only avoid further damage to your roof, but it could also prevent a leaky roof! 

 

Fall Home Maintenance #4: Clean Downspouts and Gutters

After you’ve completed your exterior inspections for repairs and backyard cleanup, it’s time to clean the downspouts and gutters. 


During the fall season, leaves build up and tend to accumulate in the gutters. As they accumulate, they clog the downspouts and gutters. This can cause leaking and damage to your home’s foundation or roof. 


Clean Downspouts and Gutters


This is why it’s very important to clean these out during the fall! 


The good news is that cleaning your home’s gutters is usually pretty straightforward. It may require using a ladder, so if this is a concern, it’s best to hire a professional.

 

Fall Home Maintenance #5: Close Down the BBQ

Unfortunately, at one point or another, you’ll have to accept that BBQ season is over. 


It can be a sad reality, but it’s important to close up your BBQ properly to avoid any damage for next year’s grilling season. 


Cleaning your BBQ


When getting started, it’s important to clean the grill, briquettes, and burners. You’ll also want to clean inside and outside the grill with some soapy water. And if you see any issues with the BBQ, this is the time to fix them – no one wants to start the grilling season with a rusty BBQ!


Lastly, make sure the propane tank is disconnected and stored either outside or in a separate shed away from the house. And when storing the BBQ, make sure it’s covered to avoid any contact with moisture. 

 

Fall Home Maintenance #6: Critter-Proof Your Home

With the colder months rolling in, small critters like mice, squirrels, and raccoons begin looking for warm places to take shelter.


While we don’t necessarily blame them, you certainly don’t want them in your home! And if they can find a small hole to make their way into your home, they will.


So to prevent little critters from moving in unannounced, it’s important to inspect the exterior and keep your eye out for holes or cracks in the foundation. 



Other places to check are: damaged weather stripping, outside dryer vents, or damaged seal where utilities enter the house. 


Little critters only need a tiny hole to make their way in, so it’s important to fill any small gaps and larger gaps with heavy-duty materials. 

 

Fall Home Maintenance #7: Check Your Furnace

Lastly, it’s time to schedule an appointment to get your furnace checked out!


As the months get colder and you’re getting ready to turn the furnace on, it’s important to get the heating system tuned up for the upcoming season. 


These inspections are conducted by an HVAC professional and usually consist of cleaning and inspecting your furnace to make sure it’s operating properly. It’s also an opportunity to fix any small problems that could become big problems down the road. 



These annual furnace tune-ups can cost around $50-100, but they’re absolutely worth it for fixing minor issues before they become larger problems. Plus it will help you avoid any possibilities of your furnace breaking down in the winter! 


Want to do a broader home checkup? Our partner HouseCheck may be able to help with their HouseCheckUp Maintenance Inspection.

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That’s a wrap! Thanks for reading and learning about how to get your home ready for the winter season. 


Happy hibernating!