Being a homeowner brings all sorts of perks and benefits. But it also includes plenty of to-do lists, especially at each change of the season. Once autumn arrives, many homeowners wonder what should be on their fall home maintenance checklist.
Preparing for winter is a critical task for those who own homes. Extreme weather and shorter days add challenges to keeping your house warm and safe.
If this time of year finds you house hunting or ready to sell, let’s talk. The Julia Monaghan Real Estate team offers excellent support and service in Portland, OR, and surrounding areas. Reach out today to connect with us.
Cute Decor Isn’t Enough
If your idea of prepping for winter means getting out decorative wreaths and holiday decor, be sure to keep reading. While all of that is festive and wonderful, it won’t protect your home during the cold months that are quickly approaching.
So before you put out the twinkling lights, jolly elves, and snowy knick-knacks, be sure to consider these fall home maintenance tips. From clogged gutters to frozen pipes to house fires, there are unique risks to the coming season. Keep you and your family as safe as possible.
Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
Since your house is likely your most significant investment and asset, it deserves all the protection you can offer. Here are the top eight things you should do this fall to prepare your home for winter.
1. Check Your Gutters
Until something goes wrong with them, your gutters probably receive little or no attention from you. And yet they are vital to protecting your home’s foundation.
At the very least, it’s essential to clean your gutters well to remove blockages and debris. For a one-level home, you may feel comfortable doing this job yourself. But if you don’t feel safe on a ladder or if you have a multi-level house, consider hiring a professional.
If you notice any leaks or spots where gutters have come loose, then it’s time for some repairs or, possibly, replacement. When winter hits, you rely on your gutters to funnel water off the roof and away from your foundation. Properly functioning gutters are critical to maintaining the structural integrity of your house.
2. Check Your Chimney
Wood-burning fireplaces give your house a warm, homey feel. But they also add a layer of risk, leading to more than 17,000 chimney fires each year.
To keep your house safe while you keep it warm, make sure to have a professional chimney cleaning and inspection this fall. They will check the integrity of your chimney and determine if it is safe to use.
And fires aren’t the only chimney hazard. If your chimney has any structural problems, it is at a significant risk of toppling in extreme winter weather. Strong winds or heavy snowfall could leave you with flying bricks and a lot of damage.
3. Check Your Roof
Loose tiles or shingles can become projectile hazards in extreme winds. And, of course, missing roof pieces lead to leaks and structural damage to your house.
Invest in a professional roof inspection to pinpoint any areas that need attention. Tackle any repairs necessary to keep your roof secure through the winter.
4. Check Your Furnace
No one wants to deal with a broken furnace once the temperatures plummet. It’s not only difficult to get a repair person at that time, but it is usually costly, too.
Use the fall to schedule a furnace service call for routine maintenance. This one step can save you significant frustration and money once winter comes. Typically, a preventive check-up for your heating system will include an examination of the following components:
- Blower and Motor
- Vent System
- Intake Grilles
- Air Filter
- Heat Exchanger
5. Check Your Pipes
Before freezing weather arrives, disconnect and drain outdoor hoses. Wrap or cover faucets to help prevent frozen pipes.
5. Check Your Outdoor Lighting
As daylight hours shrink, walking outdoors becomes more precarious. Check that all of your outside lights are working and have bright light bulbs.
Clean glass fixtures to ensure the light can travel as far as possible. Consider installing lights along any paths or walkways to keep everyone safe.
And while you’re out there, take note of cracks in the driveway or walkway. There will be tripping hazards in places where the concrete has buckled due to weather or tree roots. Be sure those areas have plenty of light on them if you cannot repair them right away.
6. Check Your Windows
Depending on where you live, fall may be the time to install storm windows and doors to prepare for the coming weather. In milder climates, you may not need to take that step.
But you should check the seals on your windows and add weatherstripping as needed. Up to 30% of your home’s heat escapes through windows. So anything you do to lower that number helps you keep money in your pocket.
Take a look at your doors, too, and consider using draft guards to avoid more heat loss.
7. Check Your Trees
If your property has tall trees, make sure to get them ready for the winter. Snow, wind, and ice can bring down limbs and trees quickly in a storm. Hire a professional arborist to remove dead branches or even the whole tree if it is unhealthy. This level of preventive care is a crucial part of fall home maintenance.
8. Check Your Insurance
It’s important to have a yearly review of your insurance policies. Schedule a time this fall with your insurance agent to make sure you have adequate coverage for your home and vehicles.
Winter brings plenty of hazards, and you don’t want the unpleasant surprise of learning your insurance won’t cover something. Some situations that could arise include:
- Trees falling on your roof or car
- Someone slipping and falling on an icy walkway
- Burst pipes
- Flooding from extreme rain
Taking some time to check in with your agent could save significant time, money, and aggravation.
Here to Help All Year Long
At Julia Monaghan Real Estate, your needs are our top priority. When you are buying, selling, or just contemplating a move, we are here to help you.
And our support of our clients doesn’t end on closing day. If you need trusted referrals for any home maintenance for fall and beyond, we can connect you with someone reputable.
Reach out today to talk with Julia or a team member. We can’t wait to connect!