As Ben Franklin once said: “In this world, nothing is certain but death and cleaning your gutters before winter to prevent ice dams”. With that, here are five fall home maintenance activities to start thinking about in the coming weeks.
Check your chimney Make sure everything is in order before the first fire of the season. “Creosote buildup causes chimney fires,” says Family Handyman. “You should have your chimney professionally inspected or cleaned after every 70 fires. Don’t remember the last time you had it cleaned by a pro? A quick way to tell if your chimney needs cleaning is to run the point of your fireplace poker along the inside of your chimney liner. If you find a 1/8” layer (or more) of buildup, call a chimney sweep.”
Check your roof Storms, wind, and other weather conditions over the past year could have done damage that you’re not aware of. Don’t wait until the first heavy snow to find out you have a leak. If you’re not comfortable on a ladder or just want a professional eye, a pro roofer will typically charge you less than $100 to check it out.
Seal it up There are three important reasons to make sure your home is air tight: 1) Keeping moisture out; 2) Keeping critters out; 3) Keeping warm air in. Fall is when pests begin to look for places to ride out the winter, so make sure your exterior is free of gaps and holes that will allow for unwanted houseguests.
Sealing up holes and cracks can also make your home more efficient—saving you money and keeping you warm and cozy. In most cases all you need is weather stripping and caulk.
Disconnect garden hoses from faucets As soon as the weather dips, it’s time to disconnect and drain hoses. This simple task can potentially save you a lot of heartache later. “Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the pipes just inside your exterior walls,” says HouseLogic. “If freezing temps hit, that water can freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes.”
Also, make sure to drain your hoses before storing them to prevent cracking during the cold winter months.
And, of course, clean your gutters Depending on your climate and the surrounding foliage, you may need to clean your gutters more than once throughout the fall. Your gutters are your best ally when it comes to moving moisture away from your home, so it’s critical to keep them free of obstruction.