An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This expression holds true when talking about fall home maintenance. A few hours of preventative maintenance is certainly better than a costly, uncomfortable repair during the wet and cold winter months.
Clean gutters, downspouts and make sure any drains are free of leaves and debris.
It is vitally important that water can freely move away from your home, water pooling and overflowing can cause serious damage to your home including eroding the foundation, driveways and walkways.
Have your roof inspected for loose or missing shingles, check that all flashing is secure and properly caulked.
As the wind and rain picks up it will find any available opening to enter your home and can cause hidden damage, especially in your attic.
Walk the exterior looking for any holes that could allow unwelcome critters into your home.
Mice, rats, squirrels and even raccoons will invite themselves into your cozy home if they can find any opening. Small holes can be filled but larger holes should be covered with metal mesh prior to patching.
Replace any failing weather stripping on doors and windows.
Cold air that finds its way through cracks is unpleasant in both physical comfort and monetary as it can make it difficult to keep the home warm while increasing heating bills.
Winterize your irrigation system.
It is important that your irrigation system is turned off and cleared of any water. Residual water in pipes can freeze and cause cracks in the water lines.
Prune your trees and shrubs.
Remove any dead tree limbs to avoid damage from falling branches. Make sure that trees and shrubs are trimmed back from the home to prevent easy access to unwanted house guests. Also, check that branches are not near or touching power lines.
Remove hoses and shut off exterior faucets
To protect your pipes from freezing and bursting it is important that you detach hoses and shut off the hose bib. Drain the hoses and store them inside if possible.
Test your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, check the expiration date on fire extinguisher.
You should regularly test your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, but this is especially important as we move into the colder months. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years at a minimum and C02 detectors every 5 years.
Check & maintain your heating system.
If you have a fireplace have it cleaned and inspected. Wipe down electric baseboards to prevent fires and have furnaces inspected and change the filter.
Clean and store your barbeque.
A good cleaning will not only help prolong the life of your barbeque but will make it less appealing for critters who love left behind food bits.
If you live in a strata complex many of the exterior items will be part of the regular maintenance but it is always a good idea to be proactive and let the council or property manager know of any items you notice that need attention.
A little bit of time and attention during the fall will lead to cozy winter days sipping hot chocolate by the fire rather than cold miserable days chasing leaks and drafts.