We are officially well on our way into the fall season- the leaves are beginning to change color, nights are becoming cooler, and soon, we may even see our first snowfall of the holiday season.
Like any other season, fall comes with many expected changes – including the ways in which you should be taking care of your home.
As experts in housing, we have put together our top 13 To-Do items for the fall and winter in order to help keep your home as beautiful as the day you fell in love with it.
1. Stow your mower.
Any fuel remaining in the engine will decompose during long periods of inactivity. Top off the fuel in your mower gas tank with stabilizer, or run the engine until it is empty.
2. Turn off exterior faucets.
Undrained water in pipes can freeze. As a refresher from 4th grade chemistry, when water freezes, it expands. This can cause your pipes to burst and create a plethora of problems, including structural damage to your home.
As a Colorado resident, consider investing in a frost-free outdoor faucet.
3. Drain your sprinkler system.
As you turn off your faucets, make sure to drain your sprinkler system as well! This will help prevent your sprinklers from suffering freeze damage just as your water pipes would. For a step-by-step guide on how to drain your sprinkler system, check out this guide by the Coloradoan.
4. Caulk around windows and doors.
Caulk is a flexible adhesive used to seal air leaks in cracks that are less than 1-quarter-inch wide. Caulking windows and doors is an effective way to save money on your energy bill this year as it helps to prevent air from flowing out of (or into) your home.
Remember, caulking windows and doors only helps to prevent air leakage and is not a replacement for proper insulation practices. For increased window insulation, consider utilizing storm windows.
5. Hit the roof.
Replace damaged, loose, or missing shingles that may leak during winter storms. Before replacing your shingles, make sure to clear off any debris that may be on top of your roof. Even small bits of debris will hold moisture and possibly rot or mold, which will break down your roofing material.
6. Reverse your ceiling fans.
Reversing your ceiling fans is another small and unobtrusive way to save on energy expenses this winter. As the outside temperature becomes colder, turn the fan blades clockwise at a low speed. This creates an updraft, which pushes down the warm air into your living space.
7. Fix the walkway.
Damaged walkways, driveways, and steps are a hazard year round, but their dangers are compounded when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems in the fall is critical to preventing little problems from becoming expensive headaches in the future.
8. Clean the gutters to prevent ice dams.
Water can back up against the house and cause leaks and ice dams, which can damage roofing, siding, and wood trim. Cleaning the gutters is an effective way to help prevent ice dams from forming. While you are cleaning the gutters, ensure that the downspouts are functioning properly. Melted snow has nowhere to go if the gutters are clogged.
9. Prune your trees late fall.
The goal is to keep limbs and branches at least three feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding. This also prevents damage to your house exterior during high winds.
10. Fertilize your lawn with high quality winter fertilizer and aerate.
Do this before the first freeze of the season. A winter fertilizer is designed to release nutrients to your grass roots all season long. When your grass finally begins to sprout in the spring, it will be lush and healthy from soaking in nutrients all winter long.
11. Divert water outside.
Add extensions to downspouts so that water runs at least three to four feet away from the foundation. Again, this ensures that freeze damage from snow or ice does not happen to your property.
12. Call a chimney sweep.
Winter weather tends to do a lot of damage to chimneys, more so than any other season throughout the year. According to Rooftop Chimneys, this is because nothing damages chimneys faster than water near freezing temperatures.
If water seeps into the masonry, when the temperature drops, the water inside the bricks will freeze, expanding into ice crystals that can crack and shatter masonry. This freezing and thawing cycle can do massive damage to a chimney over even a single winter.
13. Fine tune your heating system.
One of the last things you want to happen during the coldest time of the year is a home heating system failure. Schedule an (annual) inspection for your heater as the first step in taking preventative measures for your heating system.
After a maintenance check, your heating system is likely to run much more efficiently, saving energy and reducing wintertime heating expenses.
Cold Weather Care
Understanding how to take care of your home is essential – especially in areas such as Colorado that have four distinct seasons and the potential for weather extremes. The most important hazard to keep at bay during the cold season is freezing water – while this may be fun for ice skating over a frozen lake, it definitely won’t be fun for your wallet.
Download an abbreviated PDF version of this blog post to hang on your fridge as a reminder for the upcoming season! If you have any other tips and tricks for winterizing your home, let us know in the comments below. We are always looking for ways to improve our expertise!