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Fall Home Maintenance Tips

By: HomeAdvisor

Autumn brings to mind warm colors, pumpkin carving and holiday preparation. As a homeowner, it also means taking time to clean out gutters and insulate water pipes. So don't wait until temperatures plummet to prepare your home for the icy weather. Use our handy fall maintenance checklist to prepare your home for winter weather.

Insulate Water Pipes

Few things are worse than waking up to frozen water pipes. And it could get worse if the pipes crack or burst as they thaw. So, if you’re worried about freezing pipes this winter, follow these steps to avoid the mess:

  • Seal holes, cracks or crevices around the home where cold air leaks in.
  • Apply foam-rubber insulation to any exposed pipes or to pipes that are in unheated locations. Remember to wrap the corners and elbows too.
  • Keep cabinet doors open on severely cold nights.

Clean the Gutters

A few leaves piling up along the roof might not seem like a problem, but it can lead to serious issues. If water doesn’t drain away from your home, cracks can form in your foundation, siding can rot, and your basement can flood. Climb up there while temperatures are comfortable and clear out the debris. If you don’t want to do this yourself, you can hire someone to help.

While you’re up there, be sure to check for loose shingles and flashing. A wet winter's night is not the time to discover that the roof over your bed is leaking.

Sweep the Chimney

If you have a wood-burning fireplace and haven’t had your chimney cleaned, it’s time to get it swept out. This removes the soot from last year, makes sure you won’t smoke out nesting guests and keeps it safe for another season.

If you’ve never had your fireplace cleaned and inspected, call a professional chimney sweep. They’ll check that creosote hasn’t built up to dangerous levels and make sure the lining or masonry are intact. It’ll be easier to relax next to the warmth of the fire when you know that it’s smoke and sparks have a safe path out of your home.

Weatherize Your Space

Simple upgrades will help keep your family warmer this winter, and autumn is the perfect time to get them done. Try some of these simple weatherizing tasks:

  • Add weather-stripping and caulk to old windows and doors.
  • Beef up the insulation in your attic and crawlspace.
  • Install radiator panels to walls behind radiators.
  • Clean the chimneys on any fireplaces.
  • If you can, trade drafty old windows for double-paned replacements and add a layer of solar film to let in the winter sun without letting in harmful UV rays.

Schedule an HVAC inspection

Stay warm and cozy this winter by having a professional complete a maintenance check on your heating and cooling systems, vents and ductwork at least annually. This can keep you safe from carbon monoxide, mold spores and other allergens.

An HVAC professional will perform a variety of checks, including:

  • Changing the filter
  • Lubricating moving parts
  • Testing the voltage
  • Inspecting the thermostat
  • Checking the start-up and shut-down controls

So, slip on a sweater and try these simple home repairs while the weather is still hospitable. Print out our handy checklist and head outside to do a visual inspection on your home: roof, gutters, siding, windows, doors and garage. If needed, call in a pro to check out the important systems to make sure your home is winter-proof.

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