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25 Tips for Fall Home Maintenance and Winter Preparation

We've pulled together 25 tips for fall home maintenance and winter prep. From the roof to the walls to the foundation and lawn, your home will be all set for winter.

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After the heat of the summer, it’s always a delight to experience the cooler days of fall along with the wonderful changing leaves and colors. As nature moves from season to season, we need to do the same thing. That may start by putting on a sweater, but it also needs to include preparing our homes for the rigors of the coming winter. 

We also need to take advantage of the autumn months to take care of critical maintenance tasks. To help in that effort here’s our list of fall home maintenance tasks, moving from the top of your home to the foundation and yard.

  1. Have the roof checked for missing shingles and potential leaks. Work with a professional to thoroughly check the roof for missing shingles and leaks. Get those things fixed during the fall well before the winter winds and snow.
  2. Clean gutters and downspouts, including downspout extensions. Fall rains and winter snowmelt need to find their way off your roof, to the ground, and away from your foundation. Make sure the gutters and downspouts are clear, along with any repairs completed as needed. 
  3. Flush outdoor drains to remove any clogs. Once the water moves through the downspouts and into the outdoor drains, it needs a clear path for adequate drainage. This is also the time to get them ready for snowmelt during the winter.
  4. Have a professional chimney sweep clean out the chimney. This is the time to get your fireplace ready to keep your family warm and cozy during cold autumn and winter days. It’s also a good time to call on a foundation professional to check for chimney tilting or cracks. 
  5. Add or replace the attic insulation.  You’ll want to ensure you have sufficient insulation in the attic to prevent heat loss and to help reduce heating costs. 
  6. Clean and caulk the windows. This is also the perfect time to clean and wash the windows, as well as apply caulk to prevent drafts and leaks.
  7. Trim trees and shrubs. Make sure trees and shrubs are not crowding your roof, walls, or foundation. Fall is the perfect time for trimming.
  8. Rake the leaves and clear the lawn of downed tree limbs and debris. This is also a great time to get everything raked and debris removed from the lawn before the winter snow.
  9. Fix any leaky outdoor faucets. Also, remove and drain garden hoses to prevent damage from freezing. Add insulation to any exposed pipes.
  10. Winterize the gas grill. Clean up food scraps, coat the burners and other metal parts with oil to help prevent rust, and cover it up to protect it from snow. Make sure you turn off the propane tank as well.
  11. Clean and stow the mower. This includes using a fuel stabilizer in the gasoline and adding a small amount of oil to the cylinder by removing the spark plug. It will then be ready for activation in the spring. 
  12. Prepare snow removal equipment. Make sure the snowblower is running and that shovels and roof rakes are ready when the snow flies.
  13. Repair driveways and walkways. Snow and rain can find their way into any sidewalk or driveway cracks, followed by freezing that can expand the cracks and add more. Repair them now to avoid continued deterioration.
  14. Store lawn furniture. Once it’s become too cold to gather outside, move your lawn furniture and other items into storage to protect them from snow and ice.
  15. Apply the proper fall fertilizer mix for your part of the country. Fertilizing your lawn now will pay big dividends in the spring. 
  16. Prepare your sprinkler system for winter. Make sure to continue to water your lawn through the early fall months to foster root growth and facilitate recovery from the summer heat. Then get things set up to prevent freezing damage.
  17. Prepare the pool system for winter. As you close the pool with the dropping temperature, make sure you take the needed precautions to prevent damage from freezing temperatures.
  18. Service the furnace. Replace the filters and ensure it’s ready to fire up when the temperature drops. This is a great time to call in an HVAC professional to make sure everything is ready.
  19. Check your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors. Use this as an annual event to make sure they’re working. Replace the batteries as needed. 
  20. Clean dryer vents. This ensures that moist air isn’t trapped in your home, and it removes a potential fire hazard.
  21. Clean out basement window wells. Also, make sure the drainage systems are working. The last thing you want in the middle of winter is water pouring into your basement from the windows.
  22. Fix basement or crawl space cracks. Rain and snowmelt can find their way into any cracks. Then as they refreeze the cracks expand, more are added. You’ll also want to prevent water entry to the basement or crawl space.
  23. Waterproof basement or crawl space. Ideally, you’ve already waterproofed your basement or crawl space. If not, now is a great time to get started with an interior drainage system including a sump pump with battery backup.
  24. Insulate the foundation walls. Just as insulation is needed in the attic and walls of your home, the foundation needs insulation. This can not only save on heating costs it can prevent snow against the foundation walls from melting and finding its way into any cracks. 
  25. Schedule a free foundation inspection. Much of this preparation involves making sure your foundation is up to snuff. Schedule a free inspection to identify anything you may have missed in your preparation for fall.

The experts at Groundworks can help. Schedule a free inspection from your local basement waterproofing and foundation repair experts.

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