Here in the Lehigh Valley, autumn is quite possibly the most beautiful time of the year. Warm sunny days and cool nights, colorful fall foliage, and fun seasonal activities make it a favorite season for many Pennsylvania residents.
While thinking about the winter months ahead can be a bummer, it’s important to prepare your home before the weather gets colder to prevent costly damage. We have complied some important maintenance tips that every homeowner should follow.
Up on the Roof
Clean gutters and downspouts frequently throughout fall to prevent build up of leaves and other debris. Neglected gutters can lead to wood rot and pest infestations, not to mention ruined gutters. Check to make sure water is not coming down behind your gutters and that all support brackets are securely in place. Improper drainage can cause damage to your foundation, driveway, and walkways.
Scan your roof for damaged, warped or missing shingles and get them replaced. You may want to hire a roofer to take a look at your entire roof to avoid bigger, expensive problems later on.
If your home has a fireplace, call in a professional to clean an inspect your chimney. Keep in mind they tend to get very busy as winter approaches, so schedule your appointments now.
The Exterior of your Home
Seal any gaps in your doors, door frames, and windows with weather-stripping and caulking. This will save you a substantial amount of money when it’s time to turn the heat on! Switch out your window screens with cold weather storm windows and doors. Screens can trap moisture in your windows and block solar heat from coming into your home, so you should remove them entirely before the weather changes.
Inspect your steps, driveways, walkways, and patios for gaps or cracks that can make snow removal or walking on slippery surfaces a hazard. Fix them now while you can!
Your Yard and Garden
Give your shrubs and bushes a trim to help them stay healthy and prevent damage or disease. If your landscaping is blocking any windows, cut them back to allow more natural light into your home during the shorter days. You should remove any limbs that could cause damage to your home or power lines if a heavy snowfall comes unexpectedly. If you can’t get to them yourself, hire a professional.
Fallen leaves look beautiful on the ground, but leaving too many of them on your lawn can inhibit growth. Remove all fallen leaves to keep your grass healthy. Even when grass isn’t growing, the roots are still alive and need aerating, fertilizing, and raking to make sure your lawn is green and bright when spring arrives. You should also remove any dead annuals from your flower beds and mulch your perennials. Fall is also the time of year to plant bulbs that will bloom in early spring like crocuses, daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips.
If you have hoses or sprinklers set up, disconnect and drain them to prevent frozen pipes. You should also turn off all outdoor water levers.
Decks, Porches, and Patios
Storing your outdoor furniture in a garage or shed is ideal. If you don’t have adequate storage space you can use furniture covers or fitted tarps to protect them from the snow and cold. Same goes for your grill (unless you plan on using it during the winter).
The Inside of Your Home
Remove any window AC units or cover the whole unit with insulating wrap to keep the cold air out. Check your attic for leaks or any sign of moisture (this could be done at the same time as your roof repairs). Get your HVAC checked to make sure the furnace and heating system are working before you need to turn them on. No one enjoys waking up to a freezing cold house! Remember to clean your air ducts and replace all filters as well.
Having the heat on poses a risk for carbon monoxide poisoning, so test all your alarms and smoke detectors and change the batteries to make sure they’re in working order.
Have Fun and Enjoy the Season!
Now that you’ve prepared your property for the upcoming winter months, it’s time to kick back and take advantage of the warm days while they’re still here! We at Tuskes Homes hope you have a fun, safe, and enjoyable autumn season.