Vibrant colors and gourds galore – autumn in the Pacific Northwest is a beautiful season, and it’s also an important time to prepare your home for colder weather. From cleaning gutters to weatherproofing, fall home maintenance is a must in our region. Otherwise, you could be facing some costly consequences down the road. Here’s our handy checklist to ensure your home is ready.
Clean gutters and chimneys
Without regular maintenance, your home’s gutters can get so clogged they can cause damage and leaks. So, it’s important to stay on top of this seasonal task. In fact, clogged gutters are one of the top home repairs you should never put off. Clear out all debris including leaves and pine needles, and then test them by flushing them out with the hose. Additionally, make sure the downspouts drain away from the house or into your street. You never want any water to pool back towards your home’s foundation.
When it’s time to cozy up to your fireplace, you definitely don’t want to be dealing with cracks and soot. They can become fire hazards. So take time to check and clean your chimney.
Do some HVAC fall maintenance
In addition to your regular annual HVAC maintenance, do your own little inspection to ensure it is ready for colder weather. Power it off, wait for the blower to stop, and then vacuum out all of the vents. Next, replace the air filters, which should be changed every three to six months (timing depends on their thickness). Finally, turn it back on and make sure the intake vent is sucking in the air as it should be, and that you feel the warm air. If anything seems off, call a local HVAC professional.
Make sure your house is well sealed
A well-sealed home will prevent drafts and high utility bills. Weatherproof entry points to the outdoors including your garage, doors, windows, and exterior siding. If you see a gap, install new or larger seals. If the gap is large, use backer rod, a foam tubing. Then you’ll need to apply the caulking over that. A weather strip works well if you notice a gap with your garage door. When it comes to your windows, caulking, flashing, and additional sealing may be needed.
Your home’s siding should be weatherproofed too. Repair any cracked paint and look for any cracked caulking. If needed, remove cracked caulking with a razor blade and replace it with a new bead of exterior-specific caulk. The last thing you want is for the elements or pests to get in and damage your home.
Rodents love finding warm places when it gets cold, and they can really damage your property. So, do all you can to prevent them from moving into your attic, crawl space, or basement. Prune back any branches that may hang onto your roof. Don’t store anything in your crawl space since that serves as an invitation for critters to burrow there. Check your attic regularly and keep it as clean and tidy as possible. If you hear scuttling overhead or find droppings anywhere, take immediate action.
Prepare your yard
You may have already thought about how the time is nearing to put away your lawn furniture, but have you also thought about storing your lawn tools, hoses, and your grill? And, are the tools you will need ready to go?
Fall is also the time to prune, clear out garden beds, fertilize, and reseed. And, if you have a green thumb, here’s a helpful fall gardening checklist for Zone 8b, complete with maintenance tips through fall into winter.