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Winter is Coming: Maintenance Tips For Fall Months

Summer has passed and the weather has started to change, which means it’s time to prepare your house for the upcoming winter. Freezing temperatures and more frequent inclement weather are just around the corner. Here are six maintenance tips you need to remember for the fall months.

1. Spruce Up the Landscaping

Your backyard doesn’t get much use during the winter, so it’s time to do some prep work. Start by swapping out your potted summer plants for more cold-resistant plant species to keep things fresh and lively. Winter might be a gloomy time of year, but your yard doesn’t have to be.

If your property has any large bushes or trees, trim them back so ice and snow don’t weigh them down later. There shouldn’t be any branches hanging over your house. Fallen trees cause major exterior damage and are one of the leading causes of death during severe weather. The addition of ice makes them even more dangerous.

Finally, you should aerate your yard’s soil and put down some fertilizer. Doing this project before winter allows the fertilizer to set in without disruption from heavy foot traffic. You’ll have to keep a consistent watering schedule throughout the fall, but your yard will look greener and fuller when spring arrives.

2. Inspect Your Roof and Gutters

Early fall is the best time of year for roof inspections and repairs. The weather has cooled down enough to make a tolerable work environment, plus there’s usually minimal precipitation. Get up there and repair damaged shingles and patch up cracks to strengthen your roof for the harsh weather ahead. One weak spot can lead to powerful drafts and leaks, especially in older homes.

Gutters endure a lot of damage during the fall and winter from dead leaves, snowstorms, ice, and freezing temperatures. You need to make sure they’re clean and sturdy long before the weather shifts. Go down the line and check for cracks and sagging points. Remove bird nests and other debris, then pour some water into the gutters to make sure they’re flowing properly.

3. Protect Your Deck or Patio

Fall is your best opportunity to refinish or restain patios and decks before the cold weather officially sets in. Freezing temperatures, ice, and snow can crack and stain vulnerable wood and pavers. If you fail to protect these areas, you might be in for a rude awakening when the snow melts.

Put away lawn furniture, grills, and other items that might also sustain damage in the cold. Clearing out as many obstacles as possible is an important step in prepping for snow removal. It enables you to bring in the necessary equipment and start right away. Without any objects in the way, the equipment can do its job and remove piles of snow in short order.

4. Upgrade Your HVAC System

Once the cold temperatures arrive, our HVAC systems start to work overtime. Now is the moment to upgrade your system while the weather is still pleasant. The new system should include air quality monitors or a smart thermostat to keep the house fresh throughout the winter.

Since we spend more time inside during the winter, bacteria and other pollutants can accumulate more easily. Proper air filtration helps prevent allergic reactions and the spread of airborne viruses.

5. Seal Up Drafts

Another way to maintain your home’s air quality is by weather stripping the doors and windows. You can buy standard foam weather stripping or make your own from scratch. It doesn’t matter what they look like if they plug up the cracks.

Your home also likely has some exterior cracks that could compromise your home’s warmth during the winter. Grab a tube of caulk that matches the color of your house and seal up any cracks in the siding. Other vulnerable places are door frames and entry points for pipes and wires.

6. Test Out the Fireplace

If you plan on using your indoor fireplace in the coming months, you ought to do a test run first. Shine a flashlight up the chimney and make sure the damper opens and closes completely.

Then, remove leaves, tree branches, and any other debris blocking the passage. If the fireplace has any loose or missing bricks, you may need to hire a professional to make the repairs.

Don’t Underestimate Nature — Prepare With Maintenance

Some homeowners think they can get away with skipping minor maintenance projects, but they are mistaken. Don’t underestimate nature’s ability to cause destruction. A quick winter snow squall or freezing temperatures can cause significant damage in many areas. Take the time to complete these projects during the fall so your home is prepared when the cold weather strikes.

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