A Fall Checklist on How to Maintain Your Home Before Winter
1. Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets
Leaving hoses attached can cause water to back up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls. If freezing temps hit, that water could freeze, expand, and crack the faucet or pipes. Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.
Turn off any shutoff valves on water supply lines that lead to exterior faucets. That way, you’ll guard against minor leaks that may let water enter the faucet.
While you’re at it, drain garden hoses and store them in a shed or garage.
2. Degunk Your Gutters
Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk. Make sure gutters aren’t sagging and trapping water; tighten gutter hangers and downspout brackets. Replace any worn or damaged gutters and downspouts.
If you find colored grit from asphalt roof shingles in your gutters, beware. That sand-like grit helps protect shingles from the damaging ultraviolet rays of the sun. Look closely for other signs of roof damage (#6, below); it may be time for a roofing replacement.
Your downspouts should extend at least five feet away from your house to prevent foundation problems. If they don’t, add downspout extensions, which cost $5 to $13 each.
3. Check Your Furnace
Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. You’ll pay $70 to $200 for a checkup. An annual maintenance contract costs $150 to $500 annually, depending on the service contract terms and conditions.
Change your furnace filters, too. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. If your HVAC includes a built-in humidifier, make sure the contractor replaces that filter.
4. Prune Plants
The best time to prune plants and trees is late fall, when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least three feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your house exterior during high winds.
For advice on pruning specific plants in your region, check with your state extension service.
Article by Houselogic.com