There’s something about fall that makes us want to roll up our sleeves and work on our home maintenance. Maybe it’s the promise of warm apple cider after, or the crisp feeling in the air and the kids jumping in leaf piles, but one thing is for sure: fall is the perfect opportunity to take care of your house and get ahead of any potential winter damage.
#1 Inspect Your Roof
Post-summer storm season and pre-winter is the perfect time to make sure your roof is in good shape. Look for missing and loose shingles, which can add up to leaks and more damage during winter snows. The ice, snow, rain, and fluctuating temperatures can all make existing damage worse, which is why now is a good time to nip it in the bud.
#2 Clean Gutters
Gutters clogged with leaves and debris are one of the main causes of ice dams. Which makes the fall the perfect time to clean out your gutters and downspouts, replacing old or damaged ones. After the leaves fall, of course.
You should always check for peeling paint in the fall, because it’s a sign the paint isn’t going to hold up to protect your siding over the winter. But now is also an especially good time to paint, both interior and exterior, while the humidity and heat are in a sweet spot between summer’s highs and winter’s lows.
#4 Check Insulation
Check attic insulation and repair or replace any that has fallen, checking to make sure it’s installed properly, with the vapor barrier facing down towards you. This will insure the insulation doesn’t trap moisture, a cause of water and mold problems. Cut slits in the barrier to enable the moisture to instead escape.
#5 Weather Seal
It’s not the most exciting job, but checking your home for cracks, especially around windows and doors, will set you up for a warmer and more energy-efficient winter. Caulking and sealing these cracks is inexpensive but effective, not only preventing heat from leaking and cold air from creeping in, but water from getting in and freezing as well, resulting in bigger cracks and even mold.
#6 Divide and Move Perennials
Remove any dead summer annuals from your garden, and divide or move perennials, protecting them with a sturdy layer of mulch to protect them from a season of hard freezes.
#7 Plant Grass Seed
Cool-season grasses like fescue and rye are best planted in early fall; this gives them time to become firmly rooted before the first freeze. Make sure to aerate your lawn beforehand, allowing moisture and nutrients to better reach grass roots, setting you up for a nicer lawn come spring.
#8 Check Carbon Monoxide and Smoke Alarms
Fall is a great time to check the batteries on these life-saving devices, replacing them where necessary.
#9 Prepare Your Deck for Winter
Look for repairs, clean the furniture, and empty your pots and planters — especially clay and ceramic planters, which will crack from freezing and unfreezing if left outside. This is also a good time to repaint and reseal your deck; similar to house painting, the moderate temperatures and humidity make fall the ideal season for deck work.
#10 Inspect Your Fireplace and Chimney
It’s one of everyone’s favorite parts of fall — that first chilly evening that calls for a cozy fire in the fireplace. Before you light it up for the first time this season though, hire a professional chimney sweep to inspect both the fireplace and chimney, cleaning them if necessary.