Around the House — October 23, 2014 at 5:00 am

10 Items for Your Fall Home Maintenance Checklist

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©istockphoto/ChristopherBernard Freezing temperatures, Snow, Ice; There are plenty of changes just around the corner, and it’s time to make sure your house is ready to handle it all. Fall is the perfect time to get your house ready for the months to come, preventing painful headaches and costly issues before they arise. Put aside a weekend this month and get ready to tackle these 10 items on your fall home maintenance checklist.

Fill in the Gaps
You might not notice drafty windows and doors in the summer months, but you’ll definitely become aware of their existence when the temperature plummets in a month or two. Save on your heating bill by checking seals throughout your home, and fix damaged caulking and weather stripping. Filling in these little gaps will also help prevent critters from squeezing into your home as they try to stay warm and dry during the winter.

Flood Prevention
Prevent freezing and flooding in the icy winter months by prepping your outdoor faucets and irrigation system. Start by shutting off the valves that connect to your outdoor water systems, then drain any water left inside. Double check the instructions for your irrigation system—they sometimes require a few extra steps to get properly winterized.

Inspect the Furnace
Avoid the dreaded broken-furnace-on-the-coldest-day-of-the-year mishap by undertaking a preventative heating system inspection. This should be done at least every other year to help keep your system in top shape and to give it a longer lifespan. Call in the pros for this one—they know exactly what to look for.

Brush Up on the Basics
While you’re giving your home a little extra TLC, take the time to check up on the basics. Ensure that your smoke detectors and carbon dioxide detectors are working properly, replacing batteries as needed. Check the expiration date on fire extinguishers, and pick up new ones if necessary. Confirm the location of flashlights (with extra batteries) and make sure you have supplies on hand in case of an emergency or natural disaster.

Foundation Check
Give your foundation a good inspection, checking for cracks and gaps and fixing as needed. Openings in the foundation can result in leaks, rodent infestations, mold build up, and other unsavory side effects.

Winterize Your Garden
It’s time to put your garden to bed for the winter, harvesting any final produce, trimming back your perennials, and adding a thick layer of mulch after the first freeze to protect your garden throughout the winter. Don’t forget to clean up your lawn and the rest of your yard—come spring, you’ll be grateful for your work.

Mind Your Step
If you have exterior stairs and railings, this is the time to make sure everything is in perfect condition. Fix loose bannisters and deal with steps that aren’t level to prevent slides and injuries when the walkway becomes a slick, icy mess.

Put Away the Furniture
Sadly, the days of dining outdoors are now behind us. Give your outdoor furniture a good scrubbing and store the pieces away in a shed, crawlspace, attic, or somewhere else indoors. If you can’t keep them inside, make sure they are properly covered and protected for the winter ahead.

Check the Roof
If you can’t remember the last time you had your roof checked out, now would be a good time to do so. You’re looking for degradation or missing shingles—if you see either of these, give the pros a call to get it fixed before the heavy, wet snow piles on.

Get Gutted
Cleaning and repairing your gutters and eavestroughs is not the most glamorous of tasks (moldy leaves—yuck!), but you’ll want these areas totally clear to help melted snow and ice drain away from your home. Double check any joints and brackets, and consider adding in leaf guards to keep your eaves clear throughout the winter.

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