It’s still blazing outside, and thoughts of autumn are far from our minds. However, now is the time to start prepping your home for the fall, BEFORE the bad weather starts. There are many tasks you can complete that will not only protect your home, but will also protect your wallet by improving the energy-efficiency of your home.
- Keep your gutters and downspouts clean of debris and leaves. You may have to tackle this task a few times over the course of the Fall, if you have multiple trees in your yard that drop leaves. Failing to do this can cause major issues as water backs up and rot.
- Inspect your gutters to make sure that water is cascading off the roof and into the gutter properly. You may have to make adjustments, if water is missing the gutter and flowing behind it. Fix any loose brackets or mountings.
- Inspect water flowing out of the downspouts and ensure that it flows away from the house. If water pools or flows backward toward the foundation, it can cause considerable damage to the foundation.
Windows and Doors
- Once we get into cooler weather, when it’s too chilly to leave windows open for fresh air, remove screens and replace with storm windows (if you use them). Repair any damaged screens so they are ready for spring.
- Lay a fresh bead of caulk around windows and door frames, to keep cold air out of your home. Replace old or damaged weather stripping. Don’t forget the door between the garage and the house!
- Repair windows and door frames if necessary. Don’t allow damage to linger over winter, as it could cause more extensive problems if moisture penetrates around the frames.
- Replace your furnace filter according to manufacturer recommendations. Some filters need to be replaced monthly, while other filters don’t need to be changed as often.
- Have your system inspected prior to first use. A professional can detect minor issues and repair them before they become costly problems. They can also make sure your system is operating at peak efficiency, so that you save money on your heating bill.
- Consider having your ducts cleaned. You don’t have to do this every year, but if it’s been awhile, you may want to consider it. Your system will run more efficiently, and clearing allergens and dust from the ducts will be beneficial for any allergy sufferers or those with respiratory ailments.
- Inspect the insulation around your pipes and make any repairs as needed. If you don’t have insulation, consider installing some. This can prevent your pipes from freezing during a cold snap. Frozen pipes can burst and cause major water damage in a home.
- Make sure you know how to turn off the main water shut-off valve. If your pipes do freeze, you will need to quickly shut off the water to minimize the damage.
Chimney and Fireplace
- Have your chimney inspected and cleaned, if you have a wood-burning fireplace. Build-up of creosote inside the chimney can cause a fire, so if you use your fireplace regularly, then the chimney should be cleaned annually.
- Ensure your flue seals tightly when closed. This will prevent heat loss when you aren’t using your fireplace.
Roof and Attic
- Inspect the insulation in your attic. It should not be covering any vents in the eaves. Insulation blocking vents can cause ice dams to form, which can cause catastrophic roof failure.
- Inspect the outside of your roof for broken or damaged shingles, and make sure that ridge vents and vents in the eaves are clear of vegetation and debris. You may want to call a professional if you have a dangerous roofline.
- Ensure the screens covering your attic vents are in good repair. Even a tiny hole can allow unwanted rodents to take up residence in your attic.
In the Yard
- Fall is a great time to fertilize and reseed your lawn. While your grass my appear to be going dormant, the roots are hard at work growing deeper to survive the winter. An extra feeding will provide the nutrients needed to give you a great-looking lawn in the spring.
- After the leaves have turned on your trees or shrubs, prune them back to allow for new growth in the spring.
- Eliminate tree limbs that are too close to the roof or the power lines. Winter winds and ice can damage tree limbs, and you don’t want them falling your house or taking out your power lines.
Being proactive about maintaining your home is the best way to save money on costly repairs, keep it running efficiently, and preserve the value of your home.
When it comes to buying or selling your home, we are here to help answer any questions and guide you through a better understanding. Please do not hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone us at 202.800.0800.
Tags: Tim Pierson, Northern Virginia, Home Ownership, Fall Home Maintenance, Winter Prep