The key is preventive maintenance if you want to prevent damage to your home throughout the colder months.
It’s time to get started on a few straightforward chores when the last of the summer’s heat is just a distant memory and you’re wearing sweatshirts rather than shorts. They’ll improve the winter and stop any unpleasant surprises for next spring.
Use this fall check list to:
Organize and Clean Your Mower
Learn about fuel stabilizer if you don’t already. Gas will steadily deteriorate in a mower that has been sitting for months, which could harm internal engine components. Gas doesn’t deteriorate when fuel stabilizer is used (around $10 for a 10-ounce container). To help preserve spare gas during the winter, add stabilizer to your gasoline. And before storing the mower for the winter, fill the tank with stable gas. To make certain the stabilizer gets to the carburetor, run the lawnmower for five minutes.
Run your lawn mower dry before storing it as an additional lawn mower maintenance technique.
1. After the lawnmower has cooled, unplug the spark plug and insert the spark plug hole with a capful of engine oil.
2. To disperse the oil and keep the pistons lubricated for an easy start in the spring, pull the starting cord a few times.
3. Invert the mower and clear the mower deck of any accumulated grass and debris.
Take Garden Hoses Off of the Faucets
Outdoor faucets should be free of garden hoses. Water can back up in the faucets and the plumbing pipes located just inside your outer walls if hoses are left attached. That water could ice, expand, and break the faucet or pipes if cold temperatures arrive. Prioritize this in the early fall to prevent harm from an unexpected cold snap.
Any shutdown valves on water supply pipes that connect to outdoor faucets should be closed. By doing this, you can prevent small leaks that could allow water to go into the faucet.
Drain garden hoses while you’re at it and store them in a barn or garage.
The irrigation system needs to be drained. Sprinkler heads and damaged pipes can result from irrigation lines, even those that are buried, freezing.
At the main valve, shut off the water supply to the system.
Turn the automated controller off.
To empty the system of water, open the drain valves.
Any above-ground sprinklers should be taken out, shaken of any remaining water, and then replaced.
Hire a professional irrigation installer to use compressed air to blast out the system pipes if you don’t have drain valves. A professional is worth the $100 to $250 fee to ensure the task is done correctly and to prevent springtime pipe bursts and sprinkler head repairs.
Close Air Leaks
Grab a few tubes of exterior caulk that matches your home’s color ($8.50 for 10 fluid ounces) and take a walk around the outside of your house, caulking the gaps between window and door frames, around trim and siding, and where plumbing and wires enter your home. One of your most crucial and least expensive autumn maintenance tasks is stopping moisture from entering your walls. You’ll also stop energy-wasting air leaks.
Choose a pleasant day with temperatures over 50 degrees so that caulk will flow readily.
Clean Out Your Gutters
Ice dams can develop as a result of clogged gutters, which can cost a lot to fix. Once the leaves have dropped, clear your gutters to get rid of debris like leaves and twigs. Make sure the gutters aren’t drooping and collecting water; tighten the brackets holding the gutter hangers and downspouts. Replace any gutters and downspouts that are worn out or harmed.
Be careful if colored grit of asphalt roof shingles is found in your gutters. This grit, which resembles sand, shields shingles from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Look closely for additional indications of roof deterioration (#6 below); it could be necessary to replace the roof.
To avoid foundation issues, your downspouts should be at least five feet from your house. If not, install downspout extensions, which range in price from $5 to $13 per.
Look Up at Your Roof
Use binoculars to view your roof from either the ground if you live in a multistory home or have a steep roof. Watch out for the following danger signs: flashing with rust patches; shingles that are missing, cracked, or buckled. Any missing, harmed, or damaged shingles must be replaced right away.
Black algae streaks are only aesthetic, but dense growths of mosses and lichen may be a warning of damaged roofing underlying. Hire a professional roofer for a $121–321 examination.
The rubber boot that typically flashes a plumbing vent stack may fracture or become loose over time. Ensure that your boot is in good condition because it will last longer than your roof. Depending on how sloped your roof is, a professional roofer will spend $150 to $500 to repair a boot.
Decide Where to Drain
Make sure the earth slopes away from your house by at least six vertical inches over a distance of 10 feet by carefully inspecting the area around your foundation. In this manner, you may prevent water from penetrating the soils surrounding your foundation and causing leaks and cracks.
Make certain that no soil touches your siding.
Examine your furnace
To have your heating system inspected and tuned up for the upcoming heating season, make an appointment with a heating and conditioning expert. A checkup will cost you between $70 and $200. Depending on the terms and circumstances of the service contract, an annual maintenance contract can cost $150 to $500.
Likewise, replace the furnace filters. You should already perform this task every two months, but if you haven’t, it’s time. Make sure the contractor replaces the humidifier filter if your HVAC system has one.
Late October, after the summer growth cycle, is the ideal time to prune trees and plants. To avoid water from dripping into your roof and siding and damage to the exterior of your house during strong winds, you should keep branches and limbs at least three feet away from your home.
Consult your state extension department for suggestions on how to prune particular plants in your area.
Examine your fireplace carefully
Grab a flashlight and check up inside the fireplace vent to make sure the dampers opens and shuts properly to ensure your fireplace is secure. Check the flue for obstructions such as branches, leaves, and bird nests by opening the damper and looking up into it. The top of the chimney should be lit by the sun.
Look for broken or missing bricks and mortar in the firebox. Request an expert fireplace and chimney check if you see any damage. A checkup can cost between $100 and $500.
Every other year, you should clean the creosote buildup out of the fireplace flue. For the service, a qualified chimney sweep will bill between $150 and $250.