It’s essential to prepare your home for a brutal winter. You don’t want to spend thousands of dollars in the spring on repairs or, worse, huddle in blankets during the winter while waiting for an emergency repair job. Here is an in-depth fall home maintenance checklist:
Have your heating systems inspected and repaired if needed.
Replace the filters.
Install a programmable thermostat to reduce energy costs.
Move anything flammable away from your heating system.
Clean out your ducts so your heating system will work more efficiently and cut down on any dust that causes respiratory problems.
Check and test your pressure valves on the water heater for any leaks.
Have a licensed plumber insulate pipes in the basement, garage and attics against freezing.
Disconnect exterior plumbing including hoses, outdoor faucets and sprinklers. Drain and winterize or hire a professional.
Know how to shut off the main water valve in case of freeze.
Windows and Doors
Change out summer screens to winter storm screens.
Repair any loose window or door frames.
Install weather stripping and caulking to defend against drafts.
Inspect any storm doors and windows for broken glass.
Insulation and Ventilation
Seal any cracks in the foundation or walls.
Check attic and basement for moisture and replace as needed.
Move any insulation that blocks vents to prevent ice dams.
Check ridge vents or vents at eaves for any plants or debris and remove.
Check screens for any unwanted pests and call an exterminator if needed.
Check hoses attached to sink, washer, refrigerator and dishwasher for any leaks and repair.
Clean out lint from dryer and around that area to prevent any fire hazards.
Check your carbon monoxide detector or install one.
Test your smoke detectors, fire extinguishers and alarm system if you have one.
Review home evacuation plan and practice it a few times.
Remove any fire hazards like newspapers.
Photo credit: AGS Seamless Gutters
Photo credit: AGS Seamless Gutters
Gutters and Downspouts
Clean out any leaves and debris from gutters and downspouts to avoid rot, pests and rusted gutters.
Check support brackets to make sure none are loose.
Make sure no water is coming down behind the gutters.
Check that water isn’t draining and pooling near your foundation or driveway.
Check your roof for any curling, flashing or leaking vents as it can be a sign of gutter problems.
Have your chimney inspected and cleaned to prevent fire hazards.
Have the flue tested for a tight seal when closed.
Check for any soot or creosote buildup, as this can be a potential fire hazard.
Landscape and Patio Work
Fertilize and reseed your lawn in preparation for the cold season.
Prune trees and shrubs so they’ll grow a bit more before winter.
Hire a tree service to trim any trees close to power lines or your home to avoid outages or caved-in roofs during the winter.
Repair your sidewalks, driveways and front steps to prevent any slips.
Check and repair your railings to avoid any mishaps.
Store outdoor furniture so it doesn’t get soaked with snow.
Hire a professional to winterize your pool.
Lay the pool cover over it to protect anyone from taking a winter swim.
The most important step in preparing your home for winter is vigilance. If you see a problem with your home, don’t wait until the last minute. Call a professional and schedule an appointment as soon as possible.
About Andrea Davis and HomeAdvisor
Andrea Davis works for HomeAdvisor, which helps homeowners find the right home improvement professionals and now makes the process simple from start to finish for everyone using Mhelpdesk. Homeowners can use HomeAdvisor Reviews to see what past customers have to say about each professional, and can calculate average local and national costs for a variety of home projects using Cost Guides. Access to all information and features is free for homeowners.