Fall is the season for pumpkin spice, apple picking and spooky Halloween fun. It’s also the perfect time to prep your home for colder weather. Taking care of any home maintenance tasks now can save you from having to pay for expensive repairs later.
Not sure where to begin? We’ve prepared a handy fall maintenance checklist so you know how to get your home ready for fall.
- Clean or Replace Your Gutters
- Inspect Your Roof
- Examine Your Attic
- Check Your Windows and Doors for Drafts
- Trim Your Trees
- Bring Your Outdoor Furniture In
- Test Drive Your Winter Equipment
- Inspect Your Heating Systems
Clean or Replace Your Gutters
One key step homeowners should take for fall maintenance involves the striking autumn foliage. Falling leaves, while beautiful, can clog up your gutters and contribute to roof damage, foundation damage and pest infestations, so you should clean out your gutters. Do this regularly throughout the season to prevent debris from building up.
Once you’ve got the gutter system clear, it’s time to inspect the gutters themselves. Run water through them with a garden hose to ensure it drains through the downspout rather than behind the gutters. Additionally, check that your support brackets are in place. If you notice cracks, sagging, holes or rust, you may need to replace the gutters entirely.
Inspect Your Roof
While you’re taking care of your gutters, you should also make sure your roof is in good condition. Look out for old, worn, broken or missing shingles. Additionally, pay attention to the state of your roof flashing, which is the metal seam that holds parts of your roof together. If it looks rusted or damaged in any way, you might need work done.
Tip: Hire a professional to inspect your roof for you. A trained eye may notice things you miss, and they can recommend the best solution. And you’ll sleep easily on those cold winter nights with the knowledge that you’ve got a strong roof over your head.
Examine Your Attic
Fall tips for homeowners aren’t just about your house’s exterior. Pay careful attention to the ceiling in your attic. If you find mold, rot or water stains, there may be a leak in your roof. For the best results, call a roofing professional to fix any leaks.
It’s also a smart idea to check your insulation levels. If your floor joists are visible or the insulation distribution is uneven, you should add more. You can use a different type from the one you already have if you prefer.
Make sure to check your vents, as well. Insulation and debris can block air vents and create ice dams in winter, so make sure yours are clear.
Additionally, check your attic for unwelcome guests like birds and rodents. Look for droppings, leaves or nesting spots. Some animals, like bats, are federally protected, meaning you’ll need to take special measures to remove them from your home. Larger pests like raccoons may require professional removal.
Check Your Windows and Doors for Drafts
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat loss and heat gain through windows are responsible for 25%-30% of energy loss in homes.
Here are some ways you can check for drafts in your home:
- Feel around the edges of doors and windows for any breezes.
- Listen for air whooshing through cracks in windows or doors.
- Light a candle a few inches away from windows and doors. Stay as still as possible and watch the flame — if it flickers, you may have a draft.
- Place a piece of paper under a closed door. If it moves, you may have a draft.
As long as your windows and doors are in good condition, you could use any of the following methods to eliminate drafts:
- Placing door snakes at the bottoms of doors and windows
- Adding insulating shades or blinds to windows
- Caulking around windows
- Check your window frames for damage, as well. If you need to replace the frames or windows, it’s best to do it as soon as possible.
Tip: Selecting energy-efficient windows or window treatments can help cut down heating costs later in the season.
Trim Your Trees
In addition to shedding leaves that clog up your gutters, tree branches extending over your house can break and damage your roof. Determine which trees around the perimeter of your home could pose a risk, then trim any concerning branches. Consult a professional if you need to remove any large or potentially dangerous branches, like those near electric cables.
Take this time to also assess your trees for dead or diseased branches. Waiting to remove them can result in the spread of infection, so it’s best to trim them right away.
Bring Your Outdoor Furniture In
Pennsylvania winters are harsh, and while outdoor furniture is built to last through rough weather conditions, it’s still a good idea to put yours away. Bring all cushions and fragile pieces inside. If it’s too big to store in a shed or garage, you can cover heavier furniture like metal tables and chairs under a weatherproof covering.
Test Drive Your Winter Equipment
Do you own a snowblower? A space heater? An electric blanket? Test it out before the cold sets in so you’ll know if it needs maintenance or replacement. That way, you’ll make sure you have it when you need it most.
Your car is another piece of equipment that you should prep for winter. Replace your wipers if they leave streaks on your windshield, and make sure your headlights are working properly. If you regularly drive in risky weather conditions, consider switching out your tires for winter ones. Perhaps most importantly, check your radiator and cooling system for cracks or other signs of damage, and bring your car in if you find anything concerning.
Inspect Your Heating Systems
Get started by making sure your thermostat is functioning correctly. Your heating and cooling systems should turn off at preset temperatures, and you should be able to adjust the temperature with ease.
Next, clean or replace your furnace’s filters. Having and maintaining clean filters can increase the lifespan of your system and ensure good air quality in your home. Cleaning your ducts is also an excellent way to increase your heating system’s efficiency and improve air quality.
If your home uses gas, take this opportunity to check for gas leaks around your system. Smell the air by your gas fittings and look for any signs of damage. If you smell gas or notice discoloration or cracks in your system, turn the gas off and open a window.
Tip: A heating professional can make sure your system is operating well and fix any potential problems, like gas leaks, before they become significant issues.
Kautz Roofing Can Help You Prepare for Fall
Ready to get started with your fall home tasks? Our roofing professionals have the knowledge and expertise to help you ensure your roof is fit for any season. We offer our residential roofing services throughout Central Pennsylvania, and our experts are ready to help you. Contact Kautz today to prepare your roof for fall!