Preparing your house for fall will stave off potential and expensive problems that come with winter. A little home maintenance now means doing less work and limiting spending later. While DFW has had mild winters in the last few years, you never know what to expect.
Once you work your way through this checklist of seven items, you can enjoy your pumpkin spiced latte and football games knowing your home is ready for whatever winter brings.
- Clean out the gutters
Clogged gutters are often the cause of ice dams. When that happens, it can lead to costly repairs. Wait until the leaves have fallen to remove leaves and twigs from the gutters and downspouts. Use water to flush them out. Then, check the joints and tighten any loose brackets.
Replace damaged or worn gutters and downspouts with new ones that have built-in leaf guards. To prevent foundation problems, ensure your downspouts are at least 5 feet away from the house. If not, you can buy downspout extensions for around $20.
- Schedule chimney and furnace maintenance
For safety’s sake, you’ll want to have your heating system and chimney checked, cleaned, and tuned up. Remember to change your air conditioning and furnace filters, which needs to be done every couple of months.
- Check on trees and shrubs
You may want to bring in the pros for tree maintenance. Arborists know how to prune to prevent branches from falling. They also can identify any trees in poor health earlier and take action to save them. Since trees will be dormant during the colder months, they’ll be less likely to get a disease if you or the professionals trim its dead parts.
As you trim the shrubs and trees, verify braches are at least three feet from the house to stop moisture from dripping onto roofing and siding. It can stave off damage to the house on windy days.
- Rake leaves
There is another reason to rake leaves other than to clean it up and clear pathways. Thick layers of wet leaves can suffocate the grass underneath, which could cause insect problems and disease. Rake them off the lawn or use a mulching mower to shred them. They’re a valuable source for nutrients. If you mulch them, put the mulch in flower beds to blanket your garden. Another option is to put them in a compost pile.
- Prepare lawn equipment for storage
Drain fuel from gas lawn mowers, leaf blowers, chainsaws, and any other gas-operated equipment. This is DFW, so you may not have any snow equipment. If you do, check to see if they’re functioning as no one wants to find out they’re not working on the day it’s needed.
Put away garden hoses in the shed or garage, or at least remove them from outdoor faucets. Freezing temps can cause water in the hose to freeze and crack the faucet and hose. Turn off outdoor faucet water supply lines to thwart leaks.
- Inspect the exterior
Eyeball the roof for any loose, damaged, or missing shingles to replace any as needed. Inspect for damage on siding and foundation for needed repairs. Look for rusted or damaged flashing around pipes, chimneys, and skylights as these could lead to leaks.
Check the wood trim and siding around window and door frames for holes or damage. Any holes will need caulking, weatherstripping, or the wood replaced. Sealing these holes prevents leaks and wasting energy. Paint over any areas where paint is peeling or blistering to ensure the siding remain protected.
- Test safety devices
Verify smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are in working order or replace the batteries. It’s worth having a carbon monoxide detector because the gas is odorless and invisible. Detectors are affordably priced and easy to install per the manufacturer’s instructions.
Although these home maintenance tasks aren’t fast, they’ll save money and avoid bigger hassles. It’ll also lower your energy bill and reduce the chances of needing any emergency repairs. Even owners of new DFW homes need to complete these tasks and these steps to winterize a home