Do you make a checklist of home maintenance and repair tasks before summer arrives? You should, and you should make a similar to-do list ahead of winter. An afternoon of maintenance in the fall can save time and money when the cold hits. Here are several areas to check and inspect before the cold arrives:
Gutters — Clean them out before and after the leaves fall. To make the occasional cleanup job even quicker, install gutter guards, which help prevent leaves from clogging up gutters.
Roof — While you have the ladder out, take a look at the roof. Check for damaged or torn shingles and replace them, or give your trusted roofer a call. Next inspect the flashing around skylights, the chimney and any roof vents. Replace bad flashing before a winter storm tests it for you. Also, screen over any gable vents to the attic. A warm, dry place is exactly what pests are looking for on a cold night.
Windows — After the heat of summer, the seals around windows can expand and contract, and the rubber can become brittle. Check for air leaks around your home, including around window frames. If you find gaps, re-caulk as necessary.
Chimney — Over time, soot and creosote can build up in chimneys, which can become dangerous. You can clean out the ashes yourself, but if you use your fireplace often, schedule a more advanced cleaning with a chimney sweep each year.
Furnace — Annual furnace maintenance is an important task to leave to a professional who can make sure the system is safely able to keep you warm throughout the winter. What can homeowners do? Change the air filter regularly to ensure proper and efficient airflow.
Detectors — Fall is a good time to replace the batteries in both smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Use daylight saving time as a reminder, and make the battery change right after you set back the clocks in your home.
Yard — Fall is no time to skimp on yard maintenance. Make sure to keep the leaves raked or mulched, as leaves can hold moisture in the soil and cause a variety of lawn diseases. Fall is also the perfect time to aerate the lawn.