Tis’ the season for crunching leaves under your feet, vibrant colors, and a great time to get cozy snug indoors. The end of summer means it’s time to prepare your home for the fall months before it gets too chilly. Whether you complete the checklist items yourself or hire a professional, taking action now can help prevent costly damages in the long run.
- Clean and stow mower and outdoor equipment- Remove any remaining debris and buildup from your mower, and move it to a covered storage space to prevent any potential weather damage. *Also, although grass appears to stop growing in the fall, the roots are actually growing deeper to prepare for winter. Now is the best time to fertilize and reseed your lawn.
- Cover or bring outdoor furniture indoors- It probably cost you quite some time and money to create that perfect outdoor space, so if you want to get another summer season out of it, properly store the items in a garage or shed. If you don’t have anywhere to store them, buy a waterproof furniture cover with coating to protect from the elements and air vents to protect from mold and mildew. For cushions and smaller items, consider purchasing an outdoor storage bin
- Prune plants and trim any tree limbs too close to house or power line- Pruning your trees and shrubs after the leaves turn helps encourage healthy growth. Heavy snow and ice can cause damage in the winter, so trim any tree limbs that are too close to power lines or your home. Before you trim near any electrical conductors, contact BGE or check here for options to work safely.
- Turn off outdoor water and store hoses- Drain and disconnect all garden hoses from outside spigots to prevent any water freezing and remember to close any shut-off valves serving outside faucets, to prevent pipes from bursting.
- Seal cracks around doors and windows- Weather-stripping is easily the most cost-effective way to rein in heating and cooling costs. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, heat loss through windows is responsible for 25-30 percent of heating energy use.
- Clean gutters and downspouts- Clogged gutters can lead to damaged exterior surfaces and water in your basement. They are also more prone to rust and corrosion. Before the leaves fly this fall, have your gutters cleaned, then covered with mesh guards to keep debris from returning.
- Direct drainage away from house- Ensure that water drains properly and doesn’t pool. Pooling can cause damage to foundations, driveways, and walkways. Be sure water is not coming down behind gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place.
- Inspect roof for missing shingles or any damage- Stay on top of roof problems by inspecting your roof (with the aid of binoculars if necessary). Scan the entire roof for missing, curled, or damaged shingles. Check ridge shingles for cracks and wind damage, and look for damage to metal flashing in valleys and around vents and chimneys.
- Replace filter in furnace (also consider hiring a professional to clean ducts and service furnace)- Once a year, it’s a good idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional. To avoid the last-minute rush, consider scheduling this task in early fall, before you have to crank up the heat.
- Check the chimney for blockages and make sure the damper is working- Call a professional in to inspect and clean your chimney. Fireplaces that are regularly used during the season should have an annual cleaning to prevent dangerous chimney fires. Gas fireplaces should also be inspected by a technician to check output is correct, and clean up any residue that has started to block any ports or vents. After a routine check, your technician should make sure you have working carbon monoxide detectors, and that you are aware of any repairs your gas fireplace may need.