1. Get on top of roof problems - Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. Scan the roof for missing, curled, or damaged shingles. Check ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage. Look for damage to metal flashing in valleys and around roof vents and chimneys. Stop problems this fall before ice and winter winds turn a small issue into a complete a disaster.
2. Get your mind in the gutter - Your roof's drainage system diverts a great deal of water from your house's exterior and foundation walls. It's extremely important to keep this system flowing smoothly. Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and to water collecting around your foundation and possibly flooding your basement or crawlspace. Before the onslaught of wet weather arrives, have your gutters thoroughly cleaned.
3. Check weather stripping and caulking around doors and windows
Weather-stripping is a cost-effective way to reduce heating and cooling costs while reducing drafts and keeping your home more comfortable year-round. Because weather stripping can deteriorate over time, it is important to inspect it periodically. While you're at it, check for missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, and entry points for electrical, cable, phone, gas lines. Seal any gaps with a suitable caulk.
4. Replace your furnace filter - Furnace filters trap dust that would otherwise be deposited in your living space. Clogged filters make your furnace work harder to keep your home at a comfortable temperature, and can increase your utility bill. A simple cleaning/replacement is all it takes to keep these filters breathing free and clear.
5. Clean the chimney - Does your home have a fireplace? For fire safety and indoor air quality, have chimneys and flues inspected and cleaned if necessary.
6. Test your smoke alarms - Test your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Replace the batteries in all smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors and test them to make sure they’re working properly.
7. Test outdoor lights and replace bulbs as needed - As the days get shorter we rely more on exterior lighting, both for safety and ambiance. Make sure your lights are working and replace bulbs as needed. Consider LED bulbs for their energy efficiency and their life span. You could also have a timer installed by a qualified electrical contractor so that the lights come on before you get home from work and they can automatically turn off at a programmed time.
8. Shut off exterior faucets and store hoses - Protect your pipes from freezing temperatures by shutting off water to exterior faucets
and draining the line before the weather dips below freezing. Drain garden hoses and sprinklers and store them indoors. Drain and winterize your in-ground irrigation system.
9. Show your lawn some love - Rake the leaves. While leaves may look beautiful blanketing the ground, leaving too many leaves on a lawn over winter can create damage. Mow your lawn for the last time this year. It is also a good time to apply a fall fertilizer to help your lawn stay healthy through the winter months. If you notice moss in your lawn, it may be a good time to apply some Dolopril (lime) to increase the soil Ph and correct the ideal growing conditions for moss.
10. Clean and store your patio furniture - Extend the life of your patio furniture by washing it and storing it indoors.
11. Take back your garage - Your garage was built to store your vehicle. Instead we park our cars, which cost thousands of dollars, in the driveway and fill our garage space with, more often than not, useless junk. Fall is a great time to declutter and organize the garage. On those blustery days where the rain is falling and the wind is howling, whether you're on your way to work or coming home with groceries you'll be glad to be under cover.
12. Prepare for power outages - Make sure to stock up on candles.
Have flashlights ready to go with a fresh supply of batteries.
Don't forget to install surge protectors around your home to protect your electronic equipment.
By taking a few simple steps you’ll be better prepared to face whatever mother nature decides to throw at you this winter. But don’t wait too long, you don’t want to be caught off guard. You’ll be glad you did when you’re snuggled up in a nice warm house, sipping hot chocolate, and watching the snowflakes fly. (Oh! Make sure you have a shovel too.)