Summer technically hasn’t even ended yet and we’re already thinking about winter. This may seem crazy; however, there are a lot of things that you should be doing to your home in the fall season to help make your life easier and the lifetime of your home longer come winter.
So take out your planner, free up a weekend in September, and go to town on this house prep checklist.
- Tackle the gutters: We know it’s easy to forget about your roof situation since it’s not staring you in the face every day. However, it’s extremely important to clean out those gutters, especially when autumn’s leaves start to fall. Clogged gutters can lead to a disruption in water run-off causing damage and leaks.
- Prep faucets and pipes: All of your garden hoses, sprinkler systems and other outdoor piping can store excess water. Come winter, this water freezes, expands inside the pipe and boom – pipe bursts and zero fun on your part. Make sure all of the water is drained from your hoses and that your sprinkler and irrigation systems are completely shut off.
- Makeover the deck: Your deck has seen a lot of action this summer. Backyard BBQs, gardening, summer thunderstorms and more. You should thank it for all the memories by giving your deck a good facelift. Make sure you take all your deck furniture inside to storage or cover it with a suitable winter furniture cover. Prep any potted plants on the deck for the snowy season and sweep off all dirt and debris. Finally, clean your deck with a power washer to remove all summer stains and prep it for a good seal. Sealing your deck extends the lifetime and can keep the wood looking natural longer. It also helps protect the wood in different seasons, making sure it doesn’t absorb too much water or dry out.
- Say bye to your grill: It’s been your best friend this summer and gave you delicious meals, but it’s time to clean it up and let it hibernate for a few months. Start by doing a clean scrub of the grill – make sure to take off the cooking grids to get to the burner. You don’t want leftover food pieces and grease to manifest throughout the winter. Once it’s shiny and new, make sure to either place in the garage, storage, or buy a heavy-duty grill cover that fully protects it.
- Clean up the cracks: While you’re outside, take a look at the driveway, walkway, sidewalks, and steps. Any cracks or uneven edges that can be replaced or sealed will help you out come winter time. This can prevent additional breakage of the surface and prevent unwanted injuries/slip and fall accidents.
- Raise the roof: Survey your roof for rotten wood, missing shingles, cracks, damages, and leaks. Whatever needs repaired should be taken care of in the fall before the snow hits, damaging the materials even further and leading to severe cases of leaking, etc. inside your home.
- Yard upkeep: Although your yard is about to get covered in leaves and eventually snow (depending on your weather), it’s important to keep everything clean and tended to throughout the fall so that your yard can survive the winter climate and thrive come spring. Make sure to rake your leaves, regularly mow the lawn, start seeding your grass, and clip off any dead tree limbs or branches of bushes and plants. The maintenance you do now will save you a lot of time and money in the spring.
- Check the chimney: Before the nightly fires start up, make sure to check and clean your chimney and flue for any excess residue. If these things get clogged it can lead to slow airflow and smoke issues, plus you want to make things as easy as possible on Mr. Claus come December.
- Don’t forget the windows: Give your windows a nice wipe-down to remove the grime from the summer heat. Also, make sure your windows and doors are fully insulated. Check for air leaks and caulk where needed. Depending on where you live, it may be helpful to install storm doors and windows this fall as well.
- Replace the furnace filters: Take a peek at your furnace and HVAC unit and make sure to replace the older filters with new ones. If you’ve had issues in the past, get your furnace and heater checked by a professional – you do not want to be the millionth caller on a 30 below Saturday night in need of a repair man this winter.
- Fall cleaning is a thing too: Doing a full clean and declutter of your home is not just saved for the springtime. Do a clean sweep of your house. Take out the goodwill bag, silver polish, carpet cleaners, dust buster and go to town. Turn on some music and have your family help out for some good old fashion fun.
- Stock up on essentials: Now that everything in your home is super clean and organized, you know exactly what materials and equipment you need to restock. Make sure you have working essentials like flash lights, shovels, bulk salt for the walkways, and lots of hot chocolate…
- Save some cash: You don’t always need to have the heat on full blast during the winter. If you go out of town or even when you’re at work during the day, feel free to turn your heat down to a manageable temperature. Once you get home for the day you can turn it back up a few notches – it doesn’t take long at all. Also, check your water heater temperature and turn that knob down to 120 F – this will save you some unnecessary scalding in the future. One more tip – take out your sweaters and sweatpants. Bring on your cozy clothes and blankets – what’s the point of fall and winter if we can’t dress the part? Save yourself a couple dollars on your electric bill and warm up the old fashioned way.
- Safety first: Last but not least, make sure to refresh everyone’s memory and go over your fire safety strategy with your family/roommates. If you live solo, taking a second to gather your own plan is a good idea too. Make sure to check that the smoke alarms are still working and that you know where the fire extinguishers are and how to use them. Don’t forget to instill an escape plan as well in case of a fire.
Summer may just be ending, but winter will be here before you know it. Make sure you and your home are prepared and ready to take on whatever climate the upcoming seasons throw your way.