The fall season is the perfect time to take care of things around the house before winter hits — it’s not too hot, and it’s not too cold. As the days get chillier, some home maintenance tasks will be too cold for you to do, and you’ll be busy celebrating the holidays with family.
From outdoor to indoor maintenance, be prepared for the cold season so you can kick back and relax. Before winter arrives, check these six tasks off your to-do list:
1. Check for Backup Hazards in Your Gutters
Autumn is beautiful for its falling leaves, but when those accumulate in your gutter, they can block your gutter and lead to backups that lead to water damage. Grab a ladder, gloves and other supplies and DIY deep clean those gutters to keep your home looking need and preventing backup hazards.
Use a chisel to scrape off old caulking and seal up cracks with new caulk. If your downspout is clogged with dead leaves and mildew, it could result in a sagging gutter. A rivet gun will also secure rivets that have slipped out of the downspout. Once those dead leaves have been removed, use them for composting.
2. Finish up Seasonal Lawn Tasks
Gather the dead leaves from the lawn and add them to the ones from the gutter to make compost. If you decide to mow instead of rake, the shredded old leaves will provide nutrients for your lawn for next year — so don’t worry if you miss a few leaves.
For a green lawn this spring, pull weeds and put down a green weed preventive. You’ll also want to fertilize your lawn in early fall, and if you mow your grass a little higher, it promotes deep roots that lead to a lush lawn.
Give your lawn equipment oil changes and a good cleaning. Drain your gas containers and other gas-powered tools. Then, store them away from the cold and wet in your outbuilding.
3. Check your Detectors
You should check your detectors twice a year for any problems or drained batteries, but it’s best to test smoke alarms monthly. Change batteries in your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. Do you have these placed on every level of the home and near potential fire hazards?
It’s also a good time to go over your fire safety plan with your family. Every room should have at least two exits, and you should have a meeting place near the home, such as a mailbox or lamp post. Place a copy of the fire safety map with escape routes marked on the back of your children’s doors and every level of the home.
4. Focus on Energy Efficiency
Winter means a hike in energy bills as temperatures drop and you try to keep the inside warm and cozy. Focus on energy efficiency updates to lower your energy bills and put away money for your summer vacation.
For example, replacing your garage door keeps heat from escaping and ensures your home is properly sealed. It also gives your house an instant facelift for curb appeal while upgrading a common access point for robbers who target outdated structures of the home.
Another important area to focus on is updating your windows for a more energy efficient product, which will also seal the warm air in and prevent cold air from leaking in. A quick fix to seal cold air out is to caulk cracks around the windows where you can feel the air movement. Seal additional drafts by caulking around doors gaps.
5. Protect and Preserve Your Plumbing
Focus on preserving existing water lines by adding insulation to avoid leaks and frozen pipes. Cleaning the lines helps to remove backup-causing clogs that can lead to bursting if pipes get frozen.
You can extend the life of your water heater by draining and flushing it, which will also improve its efficiency. Magnesium and calcium build up, and draining and flushing will remove buildup. Be careful because the pipes will be hot!
Before the first freeze sets in, you need to detach your outdoor hoses and drain standing water. Store these inside. Outdoor faucets should also be drained, and interior shut-off valves need to be closed to the house spigots to stop the pipes from freezing.
6. Build a Winter Emergency Kit for Your Car
Be prepared for winter emergencies if you get stuck in the snow or snowfall becomes heavier than you expect. For example, kitty litter can be used to melt ice and get stuck tires unstuck. Your winter emergency kit will fit in your trunk and should include:
- Kitty litter/sand
- Collapsible Shovel
- Mini tool kit
- Blankets/Boots/Hand Warmers
- First aid kit
- Emergency water and snacks
Take care of these six tasks before winter comes, and you’ll save money by going energy efficient and prevent your pipes and gutters from bursting or backing up. Check your detectors to keep your family safe, and build a winter emergency kit for your car in case you get stuck in the snow. You’ll enjoy the holidays with family with a secure home and peace of mind.
Kacey is a lifestyle blogger for The Drifter Collective, an eclectic lifestyle blog that expresses various forms of style through the influence of culture and the world around us. Kacey graduated with a degree in Communications while working for a lifestyle magazine. She has been able to fully embrace herself with the knowledge of nature, the power of exploring other locations and cultures, all while portraying her love for the world around her through her visually pleasing, culturally embracing and inspiring posts.