As the days shorten and the weather gets cooler, the comfort of the indoors beckons. Before you head inside to hunker down for fall, make sure the exterior of your home is ready for the rigors of inclement weather by following these fall home maintenance and cleaning tips:
Check your roof.
As your home's first line of defense against rain and snow, your roof requires extra attention at this time of year. Do a visual inspection, looking for loose or missing shingles and accumulated debris. If you have a chimney or skylight, check that the flashing is secure with no gaps and the seal is tight. Also look in the chimney cap for damage and obstructions such as nests or accumulated leaves. Remove all debris from the roof, and if necessary, replace missing shingles and reseal the chimney.
Also clean leaves and dirt from the gutters at this time, and inspect the downspouts to make sure they are flowing freely, and the resulting water flows at least six feet away from the foundation. Clogged gutters can cause moisture buildup on the roof, leading to rotting.
Before the wind howls and cool air creeps in, inspect the weather stripping
and caulk around your windows. Look for any cracked or peeling caulking, loose window stripping and broken panes. At this time, also make sure that your window frames are secure. If necessary, apply caulk to stationary windows
and weather stripping to those windows that open and close. Prevent leaks by replacing any cracked panes.
Check paint and siding.
Look for cracking and peeling paint on your home's exterior walls and windowsills and repaint any problem areas to prevent moisture from penetrating and causing costly deterioration. If you have brickwork on your home, inspect it for loose or crumbling mortar and repair any damaged areas. Additionally, make certain that all siding is secure, as rain and snow can push its way under loose siding and cause rotting to the wood underneath.
Winterize your hose bib.
If you live in a climate that experiences freezes and you don't have frost-proof hose bibs, winterizing them is important. Failing to remove hoses and shut off the water to the spigot can cause the pipes to freeze and break in the walls of your home, which creates often unseen, highly damaging leaks. Remove garden hoses, drain and store them for winter coiled and flat. Then close the interior valve to the outdoor hose bibs and completely drain any remaining water in the bibs before turning them off for the winter.
Thin and trim vegetation.
Lacing trees so that the wind flows through helps protect them from losing limbs and falling onto your home or other structures during stormy weather. Pay particular attention to low-hanging limbs. Also trim back shrubs located next to your home, as they can scratch up against your house or windows and cause damage.
Replace outdoor light bulbs.
Now, when the weather isn't wet or windy is the most convenient and safest time to put new light bulbs in all of your outdoor fixtures. Installing new light bulbs helps guarantee that you don't end up outdoors in icy weather conditions without an illuminated path to help guide you. Consider replacing your standard light bulbs with CFL (compact fluorescent light)
, which will save energy and money.