By Shannon Ireland
The scent of pumpkin spice has begun to fill the air, sweaters are moving toward the front of the closet, and leaves are changing from their summer green to the vibrant hues of fall.
But before you cozy up with a fleece blanket and a cup of tea, take the time to tackle a few home maintenance projects.
Why is seasonal maintenance important?
The answer is simple: Seasonal maintenance can help keep your home looking and functioning properly, and save you money because you’ll catch problems before they get out of hand.
Plus you’ll get the added bonus of sleeping easier at night knowing you’ve taken all necessary precautions.
‘Tis the season to …
1. Rake it in
Few things are more beautiful than a yard speckled with crimson, gold and tangerine-colored leaves. But failing to dispose of them can kill your grass and inhibit growth in the spring months.
Grab your rake and enjoy the crisp temperatures of the season. You can always treat yourself to a pumpkin treat when the raking is done.
2. Clean the gutters
Speaking of leaves, when they clog your gutters, rainwater can’t flow through and will eventually spill over. So what, right? This overflow can damage your home’s siding, roof and foundation.
It’s better to remove the leaves from your gutters than to chance the buildup turning into a costly problem.
3. Check the roof
While we’re on the subject of the roof, fall is a great time to check that all shingles are in place and in good shape before winter snowstorms pop up on your radar.
4. Conduct a walking inspection
Take a walk around the exterior of your home, keeping an eye open for damage along the pathways leading to your doors. Cracks could mean loose cement or gravel, increasing the likelihood that someone could trip or slip and fall.
To ensure the safety of visitors, seal any cracks you see. Be sure to inspect the siding and foundation while you’re at it, and tackle any repairs as soon as possible.
5. Cracks and gaps can cause problems indoors too
When you shut doors and windows, make sure there aren’t any spaces allowing air to escape. If there are, seal them.
You may not think much of these little gaps right now, but you will when you open your heating bill and see how much you’re paying to keep the whole neighborhood warm, or when you find out that a mouse has made your cabinet his home for the winter.
6. Store summer staples
Patio furniture is susceptible to damage from winter weather. Since you probably won’t spend as much time outside – except for roasting marshmallows over the fire pit – move outdoor furniture, trampolines and other summer staples into storage.
7. Make it a clean sweep
Schedule a time to have your chimney and heating system cleaned and maintained, including swapping old filters for new ones. It’s important that everything is in good working condition to decrease the likelihood of house fires.
8. Pipe down
Shut off the water supply to exterior faucets and insulate your pipes before the weather dips below 32 degrees. This will help prevent pipes from freezing, bursting and flooding your home.
9. Take time to vent
Your dryer vent, that is. Cooler weather means more static electricity, which means lint buildup in your dryer can ignite more easily. Clean your dryer vent to help prevent this problem and keep it working more efficiently.
10. Testing … 1, 2, 3
Test safety devices, such as smoke alarms, and check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher. In case a fire ignites, it’s important to know that you and your family will be alerted and able to get out of the house quickly and safely, or able to extinguish smaller fires before significant damage is done.
11. Check your home insurance coverage
Can your insurance weather the storm? The final item on your fall home maintenance checklist should always be to call your insurance agent. Arrange a time to walk through your coverage to ensure your home will be protected, no matter what situation may arise.
- Why Halloween Scares Insurance Providers (and Should Scare You)
- Insurance 101: Review Your Insurance Policy at Renewal
- 12 Tips for a Safer, More Organized Home
Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.
Originally published October 2016.