Checklist: 4 tips for fall home maintenance

Winter is coming. These aren't just words from one of the most popular shows on TV, but also the truth. Snow, ice and cold are right around the corner, and that means havoc on your home. Before the winter hits, make sure you check off these items from our fall home-maintenance list:

1. Landscape
Your landscaping can be a big help during the winter – or a serious nuisance. Therefore, it should definitely get your attention this fall. Go around your house and trim any plants, shrubs or trees. Depending on the type, you should be able to significantly cut back foliage. This has several benefits. For starters, it will keep plants healthy and help them grow back strong in the spring. Second, it makes winter cleanup easier. You'll have a better time removing snow without plants in your way. Third, it will protect your house from the snow. Too much overgrown foliage could trap snow against your home, or overgrown branches could drip moisture directly on your house.

"Put away lawn furniture, your mower, brooms and other items."

2. Stow away tools
Once outdoor maintenance is done, it's time to store all of your tools and equipment. Put away lawn furniture, your mower, brooms and other items that may live outdoors during the warmer months. You also need to disconnect your outdoor hoses, drain your faucets and turn off the water. This will prevent leaks or frozen pipes. The same can be said for built-in irrigation systems, if your home has them. Once the leaves are all taken care of, you also want to put away rakes. Finally, move your shovels to the front of your shed or garage in preparation of the coming snow.

3. Prep the house
Next up is a thorough inspection of the house itself. A few key components must be looked at before the winter:

  • The roof: Scan it for damaged shingles or signs of rust. If you see anything, call in a professional to take a look.
  • The HVAC: Have your furnace or boiler serviced before the winter. 
  • Windows and doors: Make sure everything is sealed up tight, potentially adding additional caulk if need be.

Checking this off of your list will help lead to a warm, cozy winter.

4. Clean the gutters
Finally, make sure your gutters are free of debris. With the leaves falling this time of year, it's easy for plenty of junk to get caught up there. This will prevent water from draining away from your foundation, especially in the spring when the snow starts to melt. If you're able, safely climb a ladder and clean out your gutters, or hire a professional to do the job. Many gutters can be fitted with leaf guards, which help keep out debris. Consider having some installed if leaves are a major problem in your area.