The Autumn season means it’s time to prepare your home for colder temps ahead. Here are a few tips that will help to keep your home functioning in tip-top shape throughout the fall and winter seasons.

Exterior of house:

Check your foundation for any cracks and fill in with sealant where it’s appropriate. Common areas are where pipes and wires enter the house, or where masonry meets the siding.

Seal any areas where critters could enter your home.

Repair any exterior paint that’s cracked or peeling. Peeling paint means it is no longer protecting the siding of the building. Leaving it unattended can potentially lead to costly structural repairs in the future.

Inspect the roof for any loose or missing shingles. Water damage from weather will quickly deteriorate insulation, wood and drywall making HVAC, electrical and plumbing systems vulnerable.

Clean gutters and downspouts after leaves have fallen. Clogged gutters are a main cause of ice damming. Inspect joints and tighten the brackets, if necessary.

Remove and store screens from windows and install storm doors and windows.

Clean out and repair/fill any cracks in driveway, then coat with a commercial sealer.

If you have a pool, examine the cover for damage and replace if necessary.

Interior of house:

Have your heating system checked by a licensed professional to ensure good efficiency.

Get your fireplace or woodstove ready; have the chimney cleaned by a licensed chimney sweeping company.

Check batteries in smoke detectors and make sure to have extras on hand.

Change air filters and vacuum intake covers.

Change the direction of your ceiling fans to create an upward draft which distributes heat more efficiently.

Remove window ac units and cover outdoor units with an approved tarp or plastic cover in order to prevent rusting of vital components inside the unit.

Check windows for cracked panes and drafts and apply weather stripping or caulk to drafty areas, if appropriate. Proper sealing and insulation can account for up to 20% savings on your heating and cooling costs monthly.

Yard & Garden:

Plant spring flowering bulbs.

Re-seed any patchy areas of your lawn. Fertilize it with a high phosphorous mix to ensure healthy, lush grass in the Spring.

Drain fuel from gas-powered lawn equipment such as mowers, chain saws and leaf blowers.

Drain hoses and shut off outdoor water valves. Any water left in exterior pipes can freeze and expand, thus breaking the pipes.

Provide ease of access to snow removal tools. Once snow arrives, you will want to have shovels and snow blowers where you can get to them.

Inspect and fill bird feeders. If you regularly feed birds in warmer months, you should still provide them a food source in colder months.

Porch and Deck Areas:

Check supporting structures, steps and railings. Make sure they can support someone who might be slipping on snow or ice.

Clean and apply sealer to decks, if necessary

Cover and store outdoor furniture and grilling equipment in a protected area

Empty dirt out of flower planter containers. Dirt left in clay pots can freeze and cause the container to crack if it’s left outdoors.

Take advantage of moderate temperatures and repair damages before the first frost arrives! If you need to hire a professional contractor, ask a trusted friend or professional (like me!), or check on Angie’s List, a local FB Group or Nextdoor.com website for a good referral.