Mortgage Advice

Prepping for Fall: 6 Home Maintenance Tips

September 16, 2016

This week marks the official start of fall. While warmer temperatures will likely linger for a few more weeks, colder weather is upon us. With the change in season, now is the perfect time to begin preparing your home for the winter months that lie ahead. Once you’ve pulled out the hoodies and packed away the swim trunks, follow these six home maintenance tips to make winter a bit more bearable, and spring full of less surprises.

1. Check the Insulation

There’s nothing better than walking from the frozen depths of winter into your cozy, heated home. On the other hand, there’s few things worse than receiving an abnormally high energy bill due to poor insulation.

By checking to see if there’s adequate insulation in your attic and walls, you’ll be able to prevent icy winter air from invading your interior. These cold bursts can cause your furnace to overwork itself to keep you warm, leading to those shocking monthly energy bills.

2. Inspect the Roof

A roof over your head is one of the most common things to take for granted, which is why people often forget that they can and will fail if not routinely inspected. A roof failure in the dead of winter is not a pretty picture to imagine, much less experience.

While the weather is still warm, it’s important to check your roof for loose, buckled or cracked shingles, and ensure your gutters are unclogged and in good shape. Making the necessary repairs before winter arrives could save you thousands in repairs, and give you a better peace of mind.

3. Examine the Fireplace

If your home has a fireplace, it’s crucial to make sure it’s safe to use before winter. Shine a flashlight inside your fireplace flue, and open and close the damper to ensure it’s in working order. Keep an eye out for bird nests, branches and other obstructions inside the flue, which could end up keeping fireplace smoke inside the house.

If you spot any structural damage to your fireplace, such as missing bricks or mortar, don’t hesitate to order a professional inspection. And if there’s a lot of buildup, you may need to call a chimney sweep to clear the flue.

4. Schedule Maintenance on Your Furnace

Why wait until winter to get a heating professional to inspect your furnace? That’s their busy season, and if something goes wrong with the system, it’ll be hard to count on them to make it out in a timely manner.

Instead, use fall as an opportunity to get that inspection out of the way early. It’s also crucial that you change your furnace filters every two months, lest it work harder (and cost you more) due to decreased airflow.

5. Winterize Your Sprinklers

If you forget to turn off your sprinklers before winter, the irrigation lines will freeze. This leads to broken sprinkler heads and busted pipes, which could surprise you when it’s time to start the spring garden.

To winterize your sprinkler system, turn off the water to the system at the main valve. Then, shut off the automatic controller. Next, open drain valves to remove water from the system. And finally, remove any above-ground sprinkler heads and shake the water out of them, then replace. If you don’t understand what you just read, then it may be a good idea to hire an irrigation pro to make sure the job is done right!

6. Caulk Windows

One of the most inexpensive ways to keep heat from escaping during winter is to caulk your windows in the fall. Any cracks or openings in your home can cause water to seep in and freeze, resulting in mold buildup and even bigger cracks.

Worse yet, failure to seal cracks could let in mice and other unwanted critters who are looking for a quick escape from the cold. If the sheer thought makes you shudder, then it’s time to break out the caulk gun and get to work.

What are some other fall home maintenance tips? Let us know in the comments below!