Fall Home Maintenance: 30 Tips to Prepare Your Home for Winter

Fall Home Maintenance Tips

While spring is a common time for many homeowners to spend some extra attention on upkeep and maintenance, autumn is just as critical a season for preparing your home to withstand the potentially harsh winter weather and temperature conditions that may await you in Rochester, New York. By making home maintenance part of your annual fall routine you can identify potential problems before they arise, and Craftsman Home Remodeling can help your home and property from any effects from Mother Nature.

Following are some home maintenance tips from our Risk Control professionals to help you prepare for the coming winter:

1. Clean the gutters. Leaves and debris can cause water to get backed up in your gutters and downspouts, which can lead to problems. Wood rot and pest infestations can result from messy gutters.

2. Check that water is not getting trapped behind the gutters and downspouts.

3. Check that water is not pooling on the ground. That can lead to foundation problems with your house.


4. Look at your windows and doors. Repair any windows, doors, and doorframes that need to be fixed before the cold weather blows in.

5. Use weather stripping or caulk to seal the areas around windows and doors. This will help trap heat inside the house and keep the home warmer. It can also help you lower your heating bills.

The exterior of the house:

6. Have your roof inspected to make sure it’s still doing well. Maintaining your roof can protect your home.

7. Check over the outside of your home. Look at the roof, siding, foundation, and so on to check for areas that might need to be patched up or repaired before winter comes.

8. Protect your house against unwanted invaders. Mice, squirrels, and other critters are looking to escape the cold. They might decide that your place looks pretty great. Make sure to close any holes and block any potential entrances to your home.

9. Check your front steps, driveway, and walkways. To make it easier to walk around once snow or ice hits, make sure there are no uneven gaps or cracks that could trip you up.

10. Inspect your deck. Look for missing or rusted bolts, rotted boards, and so on. Winter weather could make these problems even worse.

11. Check your outdoor lighting. It gets dark early in the winter, so make sure you’ve got plenty of exterior lighting around your home. This can help you prevent burglary and keep your home safe.

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Fall home maintenance in the yard:

12. Take care of any tree limbs that are getting too close to the house or power lines. Snow and the cold weather can be problematic for trees, and you don’t want any tree limbs to fall on your house or roof.

13. Drain and turn off your sprinkler system. Chances are you aren’t going to be using the sprinklers in winter. Water left in the system can freeze.

14. Rake the leaves in the yard. Too many leaves left on your lawn can prevent your lawn from rejuvenating in the spring.

15. Drain hoses and store them. If there’s water trapped in your hose and the temperature dips below freezing, your hose will most likely be toast.

16. Turn off exterior faucets.

17. Move patio furniture inside. You can increase the life of your patio and outdoor furniture by bringing it inside. The cold weather, rain, and/or snow can be very hard on furniture. It might also be a good time to clean your outdoor furniture so that it’s ready to go when you bring it back outside in the spring.

Inside the house:

18. Have your chimney inspected.  Before you’re tempted to start a fire in the fireplace, call a professional, reputable service to clean and check your chimney. Wintertime means there will be a rush for these services, so do your chimney inspection before winter hits.

19. Have your furnace/HVAC system checked. It’s important to maintain your furnace so that it doesn’t give up on you in the middle of winter. You should also get the filters changed so that your heating system can run efficiently.

20. Clean your dryer. You should clean the vents in your dryer in the fall. Cooler, drier weather means there will be more static electricity. If there’s a bunch of lint built up, your dryer could go up in flames. You can hire a professional to clean out your dryer vents.

21. check your sump pump. 

There are two ways you can check that your sump pump is working correctly.

First, just unplug the pump and then plug it in again. If you look at the outlet where you sump pump is plugged in, you should see two separate plugs. Unplug both of them, and then plug in just the one for the pump. If the pump doesn’t turn on immediately, your pump needs to be repaired or replaced, so you should call a licensed plumber. If the pump worked properly, don’t forget to reconnect the other plug.

The second way to test your sump pump is by running water through it. You only need enough water to raise the float until the pump kicks on. Now, just because the pump runs, that doesn’t mean it will actually work, so watch to make sure the water actually gets pumped out of the hole.

If you’re not able to add water to the pump, you can lift the float arm up and see if the pump turns on. This method won’t confirm if water will actually be pumped out, however. If you test the pump without water, don’t let it run more than a few seconds. Otherwise, you risk damaging the pump motor.

22. Have your Air Ducts Cleaned in your home. This will lower the amount of dust in the home and it can help your heating system work more efficiently.

23. Make sure your pipes are well insulated. Take steps to prevent frozen pipes in the winter.

24. Know how to turn off your water in case the pipes do freeze.

25. Consider doing an energy audit to find out how to make your home more energy-efficient (and heat efficient.) This can help you save money on your heating bill.

26. Check your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors.

27. Consider the insulation in your attic. Add more insulation if needed to prepare for cold weather.

Your winter supplies:

28. Restock/Check your disaster kit. If you have a family disaster kit, check and make sure everything is up-to-date. If you don’t have one, you might want to think about preparing a disaster kit for your home before the winter weather strikes.

29. Check your winter supplies. If you live somewhere that’s snowy, make sure you have all the snow shovels, scrapers, and everything else you need to get through the winter.

30. Consider stocking up on ice-melt. If you live in a place that gets a lot of snow and ice, you might need ice-melt. Just make sure that it’s pet, plant, and environmentally friendly.

The steps you take during the fall can help protect your home and property from more potentially expensive damage and emergency repairs in the colder months to come. Rest assure Craftsman Home Remodeling can assist you with any damage that may occur.

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