As we get cooler, crisper weather and the first falling leaves, it’s time to get your home ready for the coming winter — inside and out. In just a few hours, taking these proactive measures can head off problems that could come back to haunt you well after Halloween! Take advantage of the comfortable weather to find and make repairs outside, so you can be warm and cozy when the winter winds start to blow.
You’ll Need a Ladder
Now is the time to check your gutters and downspouts. Keep them clear of leaves, sticks, and any nuts the squirrels haven’t gotten — jammed gutters can let rain (or snow) collect and overflow, which can lead to leaks and water damage in your eaves and roof. While you’re up there, make sure the gutters are securely fastened. Clean gutters and downspouts will also allow you to check for leaks during the next rainfall.
A long, hot summer can take a toll on your roof. Look for missing or loose shingles, and check the shingles for cracks caused by the sun. Schedule any repairs quickly, before the worst weather comes.
Drain and shut off your exterior faucets to prevent frozen pipes. Drain and store your hoses to keep them in good shape for next year.
Down on the Ground
Take a walk around the outside of your home, look for any damage to the exterior. Now is a great time to keep critters out. Mice and other unwanted guests are looking for a warm, secure place to spend the winter, and can fit into tiny gaps. Seal any space that could let them in — around vents, and where pipes or wiring enters the structure.
Look up and make sure your trees are healthy. Dead branches or unhealthy trees could cause a lot of damage when whipped by high winds or weighed down by wet snow or after an ice storm.
Get the leaves off the ground — they look pretty, but can harm your lawn and garden over the winter and prevent good growth in the spring.
Keeping It Cozy
Inside, you want to go top to bottom. Starting in the attic, look for any water damage, and add insulation if necessary. Check your vents to make sure squirrels, raccoons, bats, or any other pests can’t get in.
In your living space, look for gaps or cracks around windows and doors, Seal them up to prevent cold drafts from coming in, and heat escaping. Clean your dryer vent — it will help your dryer run more efficiently, and decrease the chances of a fire.
Speaking of fire, there’s no argument that curling up in front of the fire is one of the greatest things about winter. But make sure it’s safe. If you’ve got a wood-burning fireplace, have your chimney cleaned and inspected. Gas fireplaces also need maintenance — schedule a check-up now. This is also a great time to have your entire HVAC system tuned up.