With the seasons changing, home maintenance becomes a major concern. Many maintenance tasks are equally important at any time of year, but fall presents a certain set of conditions that make some jobs absolutely essential. As the weather turns cold, be sure to perform these basic maintenance tasks:
- Clean your gutters. With the leaves falling, autumn is the time when gutters are most likely to fill up with debris. Keeping gutters clean will eliminate drainage problems and reduce the likelihood of dangerous and damaging ice dams during the upcoming winter.
- Schedule an annual checkup for your furnace. You’re going to be using your HVAC a lot as the temperatures dip, so fall is the ideal time to have your system cleaned, inspected and tuned up.
- Protect your air conditioner. If your air conditioner’s outdoor unit is located under trees or the drip line of your house, cover it with a sheet of plywood or a drip cloth to protect it from freezing runoff and falling icicles.
- Disconnect hoses and turn off outdoor faucets. If you leave water in exterior hoses or pipes, it can cause them to freeze and burst. If your exterior faucets are not self-draining, you can shut them off inside at the main shutoff valve.
- Put away lawn and garden equipment. Check around your yard and bring in anything that might be lying around – garden tools, lawn equipment, hoses and patio furniture. Run your lawn mower until the gas tank is empty, then store it in a protected area until spring.
- Check caulk and weather stripping. Damaged caulk and weather stripping around windows and doors can be drive up winter heating costs, so check them in fall to make sure everything is intact, then replace or repair as necessary.
- Close up your storm windows. Check to make sure all your storm windows are closed properly – the outer pane should be up and the inner pane should be down – to prevent precipitation from entering.
- Seal your driveway. Summer heat can cause minor asphalt cracks which will expand during winter if water gets into them and freezes. You might not need to seal your driveway every year, but applying a coat of sealant in fall can prevent the need for larger repairs when spring comes.
- Get your humidifier ready. If you use a portable humidifier to combat the drying effects of winter heating, give it an early checkup to make sure it’s in running order. Be sure to start the season with fresh wicks and filters.