The weather is turning crisp, the leaves are changing colors, and visits to pumpkin patches have started. Fall is here. Many people may not always think about Fall as a time for home maintenance, but it is the perfect time to prep your home for the cooler months. Preparing the exterior and interior portions of your home is key to helping ensure a safe home and an enjoyable holiday season.

Outdoor projects are usually very popular in the Spring but do not always get completed. Fall can be a good time to finish or start projects because you can escape the Summer heat and cold Winter. Days do grow shorter as winter approaches so the earlier in the season you start, the better.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts
Many clean gutters and downspouts in the Spring, but Fall is a key time to clean too, especially if you have falling leaves. It is best to clean your gutters weekly during this time. Making sure that gutters and downspouts are cleaned will help prevent any backup that could potentially lead to pooling water which can damage the roof and siding.

Roof, Siding, Foundation
Inspect the exterior of your home to be sure that your roof, siding, and foundation are in good condition. Scan the roof for damaged or loose shingles, deteriorated vent boots, damaged fascia or trim, and remove any debris, especially leaves from the gutters. Examine the siding for any damage including gaps, holes, and cracks. If you notice cracks, shifting, and similar issues in your foundation, contact a professional.

Sealing Gaps
Scan doors and windows in your home for gaps. Sealing those with the proper sealant will help prevent any unwanted pests and energy loss in your home. This will also help you save on your heating bill during the cooler months and prevent any drafts from those areas. Check doors for cold spots and add weather stripping or door sweeps as needed.

Outdoor Painting
If there are any outdoor painting projects, finish those before the temperatures start dropping as well to make sure the paint dries and adheres properly. Don’t forget to locate any areas with exposed wood and cover them with paint, stain, or the appropriate form of protection from the elements. Grab any extra supplies or make these projects a priority before it becomes too cold and too dark to finish.

Yard and Landscaping
Most people trim and prune trees and shrubs in the Spring. It is a great idea to look over your trees and shrubs for any dead or decaying branches or limbs in the Fall as well. These can become a problem if we get high winds or heavy snow. Also look for signs of disease, such as early changes in leaf color or pine tree needles looking thin or turning brown. Check them out now and contact an arborist if you need help removing or treating them.

If you or your neighbors have trees, leaf removal will be a big part of Fall maintenance. Leaves can look pretty covering the ground as they begin to fall and they sure are fun to make huge piles and dive into, especially if you have kids or grandkids. But, leaving those leaves on the ground for the duration of winter can actually slow the growth or kill the grass in your yard. Prepare for raking your leaves by getting a strong rake, a good pair of gloves, and bags for hauling them off.

Shut Off Exterior Faucets/ Winterize Pools and Sprinklers
Outdoor water sources do not get used in our area during the colder months, so it’s time to put hoses away and prep spigots for winter. Make sure outdoor water spigots are turned off so they are not leaking. Get all the water out of your hoses and prep them for storage in a dry place. This will prevent frozen pipes and extend the life of your hoses.

This is also the time to shut down and winterize your pool. Some people choose to do this much earlier, but some keep pools open until the weather changes. This is also the time to winterize your sprinkler systems. Contact a professional to schedule this service.

Cooler months usually mean spending a lot of time indoors. That means maintaining the interior of your home is just as important as the outside. Holidays are also an important reason that many people complete maintenance on their home, especially if they are hosting any parties or family gatherings. Many families also have additional family members or friends stay in their home who travel for the holidays. Interior maintenance helps keep your home safe and comfortable no matter what you have happening during this time.

Heat sources are crucial in our area during the colder months. Before you decide to fire up your furnace, be sure to have your heat source serviced to keep it in top working order. If you have a fireplace, it is recommended to have your chimney scoped to look for any type of damage or repairs that might be needed before you build your first fire for the year. It is also a good time to schedule a professional to come out and do a chimney sweep. Bringing in heat means that window units are no longer needed and can be removed, cleaned, and stored. This would also be a great time to clean all the windows as well.

Now would also be a smart time to consider adding insulation to your attic if it is needed. Adding a few inches of insulation can greatly reduce your heating bill. Most of the time, you will make your money back in energy savings.

Check Safety Devices
Safety devices are meant to help save lives when placed in your home, but it is also important to check them several times throughout the year to make sure they are working properly. Be sure to change the batteries in the smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors. Don’t forget to check the fire extinguishers in your home as well.

Bonus: Stock Up on Winter Supplies
You may or may not need those extra winter supplies right now, but it is better to stock up now and have them because they will sell out. Some of the items to look for and stock up on are snow shovels, ice scrapers, ice melt (for concrete), salt (for asphalt), sleds, and cold weather attire. It is also a good time to make sure you have an emergency kit and extra blanket in your vehicle.

There are a lot of maintenance items to do to the exterior and interior of your home. If you cannot complete everything, prioritize this list and complete the most vital things to make it comfortably to Spring. Remember that you can have professionals help complete most or all of this maintenance as well. Prepping your home for the Fall and cooler months will help you know your home is safe and inviting for you, your family, and your friends.