Fall brings some special circumstances to maintaining a home, and paying attention to fall home maintenance needs will save you time and money down the road. Among the issues in the fall, there are the falling leaves, which can clog gutters and collect in the yard and around the house. There is also work to be done on trees in the yard, and inspections of the home heat systems and insulation. Perhaps the largest fall home maintenance project to be one is preparing your home for the coming winter.
Cleaning the Gutters
When performing this part of your fall home maintenance, the gutters are an important part of readying a home for the winter. If there are any trees in the yard or neighborhood, it is likely that you have leaves and other debris clogging your gutters.
Clogged gutters can cause damage to the walls, foundation, crawl space and the entire gutter system. Clogs will prevent the gutters from allowing the water to drain properly, and the standing water will freeze and expand in the winter.
Installing gutter guards is an effective way to keep debris from entering the gutters. These are screens that cover he gutters so that debris does not interfere with the water flow. If you have gutter guards already installed, it is possible to have leaves and other items lying on top of the screens, which will need to be removed as part of your routine fall home maintenance.
Trees in the yard should be inspected for dead or weak branches and pruned accordingly. The coming freezing weather can cause these branches to break, causing damage to your home, power lines, car, or anything else in their path.
Part of this phase of your fall home maintenance is a visual inspection of the trees for loose branches, rotten wood, split or cracked trunks, or mushrooms at the base of your trees, which can signal rotten wood. If there appears to be a major hazard, a professional tree service may be necessary to remove it.
Winterizing Your Home
Your homes insulation should be checked for any escaping heat. When performing fall home maintenance, the attic insulation and temperature should be checked. The air in an attic should be about 10 degrees warmer than the air outside to prevent heat escaping.
Too much escaping heat from an attic can cause frozen water on the roof to melt and then refreeze, which can collapse a roof. Crawl spaces or basements should also be checked for insulation and temperature in order to protect your pipes from freezing. Pipes should also be wrapped with heating tape for extra protection.
Heating systems should also be checked during your fall home maintenance. Water heaters, furnaces, fireplaces and your central heating system should all be serviced.
Appliances should be checked for gas leaks and to make sure that they have adequate ventilation. Carbon monoxide detectors, as well as fire and smoke alarms, should all be tested and in working order.
Caulking and weather stripping around the doors and windows should be inspected and repaired as needed. Keeping your house sealed from winter weather will save you money on your energy bills, and will ensure that the inside of the house will not get cold enough for pipes to freeze and burst. It will also help keep rodents and insects from wintering inside your home.