Preparing Your House for Fall
As the weather cools off for fall and freezing temperatures slowly begin to set in, take the time now to make sure your home is ready to withstand the cold season. Doing so can save you time, money and hassle in the future. Get your home ready for fall and winter with these proactive tips that can be completed without spending too much time or money when compared to a full-out repair.
One great way to prepare your house for fall and winter is to clean the gutters and repair as needed. To clean out and possibly repair the gutters, you’ll need:
- A sturdy ladder
- Work gloves
- A paint scraper, chisel or other flat object to push out leaves
- A hose or pressure washer
- Gutter spikes
- Silicone caulking
- Rivets or a rivet gun
Before you begin deep cleaning your gutters, climb up on a ladder and scoop out any debris from the gutter using a flat object like a paint scraper. Make sure the downspouts are clear of debris. You can save any decomposed leaves and use them as compost or mulch to keep your grass fed all winter long. Check the gutter spikes to be sure they’re properly fastened into the gutter, fascia board and home’s rafter. If they’re not secure, it’s wise to invest in new spikes to ensure a strong attachment. Check for holes in your gutter or cracks in your caulking. Use a chisel or paint scraper to scrape out old, cracked caulking and then apply a new coat of sealant or caulking; silicone-based products work best. Check the rivets in your downspouts to make sure they’re not missing or loose. If so, replacing them with new rivets will help water flow out easily. Lastly, carefully clean your gutters with a pressure washer. Avoid hitting them at a high angle, as the pressure could loosen the gutter spikes and screws.
2. Have your HVAC system checked and tuned up.
For around $100, a technician can come out to check your heating system to be sure it’s clean and running well. The technician will check to make sure it’s functioning at manufacturer-rated efficiency and measure possible carbon monoxide leakage. Acting now will ensure you’re not stuck without heat when the weather dips below freezing.
3. Check your roof for missing shingles.
You can avoid winter leaks by getting up on your roof to check for damaged, missing or loose shingles. If you spot any problem areas, call a local handyman to come out and replace the shingles or call a roofer to replace a small section of the roof. If you own a home with a flat roof, use a leaf blower to remove any debris that’s fallen from nearby trees.
4. Caulk doors and windows.
If the gaps between your door or window frames and your home’s siding are larger than a nickel, it’s wise to reapply caulk. Silicone caulk works best for outdoors as it won’t shrink or become easily weathered by the elements.
If you like to burn fires often as the weather cools off, or even if you just plan to use your fireplace once or twice for special occasions, checking to be sure your chimney and vents are in good shape is important. A clean chimney in good repair will prevent fires and keep carbon monoxide from building up in your home.
With these few simple tips, you can get a head start on preparing your home for cooler temperatures. Start working your way down the checklist sooner rather than later, as home repairs always tend to take longer than expected. When cool weather comes, you and your home will be ready.