With summer almost over and fall on the horizon, now is the perfect time to examine your home and get it ready for winter. There are certain things that can save you money on bills and repairs in the future. If you’re looking to get started, here are ten tips for fall to ensure your home will be ready for whatever winter throws at it!
1. Clear gutters and downspouts
Clean out the falling leaves and gunk in your gutters, flush them and the downspouts with water, and inspect the nuts and bolts of the entire system. Ensure your downspout is at an adequate distance from the foundation, and consider replacing the system if necessary. This will prevent water from pooling around the foundation, so no moisture will sit next to the walls.
2. Shut off exterior spouts
Drain all the hoses and turn off the water to the exterior. This prevents pipes from icing over, expanding, and breaking during cold weather. Store the hoses indoors.
3. Check the weatherstripping around doors and windows
Air escaping can lead to rising heating bills and leaks. Check the weatherstripping around doors, windows, and even the garage door, and apply it if it isn’t there; if there are any air leaks, apply caulk to these areas.
4. Check your foundation’s exterior
Repair any cracks, holes, and gaps with caulk and sealant. Have any damaged siding repaired ASAP. It’s a low-cost repair job, and it can prevent major cracks, damage, water leaks, and anything else that will be very costly in the future.
5. Inspect your roof
Look for any loose or missing shingles and replace them. They can be warped and damaged by the humidity of summer and then ruined by dropping temperatures, snow, and ice of winter. To prevent any leaking roofs and costly repair bills, ensure that everything on the roof is solid.
6. Remember window maintenance
So you’ve inspected the weatherstripping. Good start! It’s a good idea to remove the screens from them, then clean and store the screens for the winter. Install storm windows that will effectively block heat loss and prevent drafts. This will help reduce your energy bills!
7. Have your chimney or wood stove serviced
Have a professional come in and check the seals, gaskets, and doors for cracks. Have a licensed chimney sweep come in and clean the chimney flue. Any creosote buildup can ignite and cause a fire.
8. Trim your bushes, shrubs, and trees
Have an arborist come in and prune back any damaged, diseased, or overgrown branches. Keep an eye out for any indications of disease, including abnormally brown leaves, bark gashes, and discoloration. When the winter weather gets extreme, you’ll want any branches to be as far away from your windows and roof as possible.
9. Make sure your winter equipment is in working order
Clean and repair your snow blower: disengage all the control levers, remove the key, and get to work. Remove any debris, change the oil, inspect the belts, tighten the bolts, and have gas on hand just in case it runs dry. You don’t want to be caught with a driveway full of snow and no way of removing it (maybe have a shovel too)!
10. Look into getting an energy audit
Have a professional come in and assess your home’s energy usage. They can measure how your house consumes energy, where the weak points are, and how you can improve and make it more energy efficient. This can save you a lot of money come winter, and in the long run is a solid investment.
Winter can wreak havoc on your basement and foundation. It’s good to have a professional examine these parts as a part of your fall maintenance checklist. Call us today!