Home Maintenance Tips for Autumn

By Raichel Herte

October 4, 2017

We are almost 2 weeks into the autumn season.  Even though it still feels like summer, are you ready for those brisk and chilly days?  Why not take advantage of these warm days to get you and your home ready for autumn?  We’ve got a few tips to help make that preparation a little bit easier this year.  

When was the last time you got up on that roof of yours to check your gutters?  It’s important to inspect and clean your gutters and downspouts because it is your home’s primary drainage system.  On average gutters and downspouts deter thousands of gallons of water from your home’s exterior and foundation walls.  Keeping this system flowing smoothly is important.  Regular cleaning of your gutters and downspouts ensure that there is not any leaves or debris that could cause you problems. Keep in mind that mesh guards will combat those debris problems from returning.

While you’re up on your roof, why not inspect it?  Check for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.  Start from the top to bottom, checking the shingles for cracks and wind damage.  Look for damage to metal flashing in valleys and around vents and chimneys.  Scan the entire roof for missing shingles.  It’s best to get ahead of the leaky roof, before it gets ahead of you.  Once the dripping starts, finding the source can be tough and could end in a homeowner's disaster if not taken care of.  If you're not sure what to look for or are not comfortable on your roof, a local handyman is a great resource to clean gutters and advice on your roof condition. 

Since you’re outside, check for any damage to sidewalks, driveways, and steps.  Make appropriate repairs, as this could cause you a huge headache if left for later. 

Do you know if your windows are leaking air?  According to the U.S. Department of energy, gaps in caulk and weather-stripping can account for 10%, if not more, of your heating bills.  If you suspect a problem with your weather stripping here are a few ways to check: close a door or window on a strip of paper.  If the paper slides easily, your weather stripping isn’t doing its job.  Another way to check is to close the door or window and hold a lighted candle near the frame, (Don’t let the flame get near anything flammable!!) if the flame flickers at any spot along the frame, you have an air leak. While you’re checking for air leaks, also check for missing or damaged caulk around windows, doors, and entry points for electrical, cable, phone, gas, and so.  Seal any gaps with a suitable caulk.

Living in Ohio, temperatures often get below freezing in the winter, and if faucets or irrigation systems freeze or burst, you could have a huge claim on your hands.  Check any shut-off valves serving outside faucets and make sure they are closed.  Then open the outside faucet to drain the line.  If you don’t have any shut-off valves, and your faucets are not “freeze proof” types, you may benefit from Styrofoam faucet covers sold at home centers.  To freeze proof an in ground irrigation system, follow the manufacturer’s procedure for draining and protecting against winter damage.

You also might want to check that furnace of yours.  How about getting a new filter so that it doesn’t get clogged or trap dust that would be deposited into the home.  Disposable filters can be vacuumed once before you have to replace it.  Foam filters can also be vacuumed, but unless there is damage they don’t need to be replaced.  If your filter is metal or electrostatic, remove and wash it with a firm water spray.  It also might not be a bad idea to have your heating system inspected by a professional.  Start now to avoid the last-minute rush.  However, if you have a noisy belt, erratic behavior, or the furnace performance is poor, you might want to contact them sooner.

If you have a wood stove, you definitely want to inspect it before firing it up.  Check for soot or creosote build-up.  You also might want to call over a reputable chimney sweep to help get yours ready for lighting.  To avoid deadly situations, this is crucial!!!!

Lastly, keep your family safe.  A home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household.  Check and test your smoke detectors, carbon monoxide monitors, inspect or install fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans.  Make sure everyone is on the same page.  This will keep the life of your home and your family at ease.

For more tips check out Better Homes and Garden website, or the DIY Network website.  They have checklists readily available to help make your home maintenance a lot easier this season!

Enjoy this cool, autumn weather, while it lasts. :) 

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