Fall Housekeeping Tips to Get You Ready for Winter

leaves on roofThe last drops of summer are trickling away and before we know it the leaves will change color, the mornings will be crisp, and fall will be in full-swing. Besides being a beautiful season, it should also be one where homeowners prepare for winter and do a few housekeeping items to protect their greatest investment – their home.

Fall leads to snow (sometimes before we are ready), so keeping your home well-maintained is the best way to avoid unexpected problems and emergency service calls to repairmen.  Here is a list of things you can begin tackling before it gets too late:

  1. Clean and inspect gutters: Fall is the time when gutters get clogged with leaves and debris. Remove any leaves or sticks clogging your gutters and downspouts. You may need a ladder to do a full inspection, so if you feel you are not safe on a ladder, call a professional or a handyman to assist you.

  2. Clean and service your furnace: HVAC experts say an annual furnace inspection and servicewill prolong the life of the system, save energy and decrease health risks. Regular cleaning and servicing of your furnace will help extend the life and improve efficiency of your system, which saves you on the amount of fuel you use. It also discovers if any parts are worn and about to break, which is better than discovering it in January – during sub-zero weather.

  3. Order heating fuel: It is wise to order a full tank of heating fuel before the heating season begins. Prices are often cheaper in the late summer and you will not have to think about a refill until winter is well underway.

  4. Look for roof issues: Your roof is what stands between you and whatever happens to be falling from the sky, be it downpours of rain, freezing rain, or several inches of snow. Do a full eye level inspection yourself and if you see signs of missing shingles or curling/cracked shingles it may be in need of repair before winter arrives. Call in a professional to inspect and make needed repairs.

  5. Address drafty doors and windows: The drafts caused by air leaks can add 5% to 30% to your energy bill. Walk through every room of your house and taking note of any obvious sources. There are winterizing strips you can buy in the home improvement store that a homeowner can stick onto the window or door frame, filling in cracks and gaps in any outside doors and windows.

  6. Drain your garden hose, disconnect it, and turn off water supply to the spigot: If water is left in the hose and it freezes, it will expand and tear the hose. If water is left in the spigot, it can cause the pipe to freeze when the cold weather sets in. This can mean water in your basement.

  7. Protect your shrubs: Fall is the time to plant those bulbs, but also prepare shrubs for winter. Wrap delicate shrubs near your home in burlap to protect branches from heavy snow and ice or set up a teepee (two planks of wood in a teepee style over them) for protection.

Homeowners who take the time to prepare their house for the coming season often avoid those urgent, large repairs and damage to their property – which saves them time, money and frustration.

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