In Western Pennsylvania, there are things we do every fall to keep our homes operating at peak efficiency during the long winter months. Weaver Homes has years of experience building superior-quality homes, and as the cold weather approaches, we have recommendations for some of the key tasks you’ll want to tackle before the snow flies.
Prepare a Fall Home Maintenance Checklist
As summer fades, you’re just a few weekends away from getting your home and yard into shape for the winter. What’s the big deal about fall maintenance? Winter in Pennsylvania means cold temperatures, ice and snow, and damaging wind gusts. In short, the ideal conditions for leaking roofs, frozen pipes and treacherous sidewalks.
Doing just a few maintenance chores can save you money while keeping your home in good repair. The best way to make sure everything is covered is to make a fall home maintenance checklist, figuring out what needs to be done before the leaves start to fall. Do you have a sturdy leaf rake? Or are you team leaf blower? Are you going to clean your gutters or hire someone? Once you compile your checklist, you’ll be able to create a game plan. Let’s go!
What are Some Fall Home Maintenance Tips?
One of the most important fall home maintenance tips is to plan ahead! Nothing is worse than turning on the heat on the first chilly morning, only to realize the furnace needs a check-up. And don’t even think about starting a fire if the chimney hasn’t been examined and cleaned. These chores are ideal tasks for the summer months when you aren’t using the heat or fireplace.
Okay, so let’s take a look at how to prepare your home for fall:
- Collect and clean summer tools. Make sure to use up all of the gas in the lawn mower. Store everything. Then prep fall & winter tools: Rakes and leaf blowers, snow shovels, snow blower, ice scrapers and salt.
- Clean the gutters. (Or have them cleaned by a professional.) This task is especially crucial because of freezing and thawing. Have the roof checked for cracked or loose shingles, too.
- Check for gaps around windows, ripped screens or damaged siding. Seal gaps and cracks around with weather-stripping and caulk.
- Turn off all outside water and sprinklers. Close any shut-off valves, then open the outside faucet to drain the line. Empty all hoses, too.
- Check deck and porch boards. Loose or warped boards are hazardous. Check stairs and railings for stability. Damaged walkways, drives or steps can be dangerous when the weather turns icy. Fixing problems now can prevent expensive headaches later
- Power wash your home’s exterior, driveway, walkway, patio, porch or deck.
- Clean and put away or cover patio furniture, grills, and kids’ toys. Make sure every part of the grill is cleaned thoroughly of burned food and grease before it is covered and put away.
- Cut dead or damaged trees and shrubs away from your home, especially if snowfall will cause them to bend and rub against the house.
- Remove fallen leaves from the lawn so they don’t damage the grass. If you don’t want or need them, bag the leaves. If you can use them, chop them up with your lawn mower to create mulch.
- Scatter grass seed and plant bulbs. This is the perfect opportunity to plan for next spring!
- Have the furnace inspected by a professional. Replace all filters. Do this BEFORE it gets cold!
- Get the chimney cleaned. Make sure all fireplaces or wood stoves are thoroughly inspected. Order and stack firewood.
- Check for drafts around windows and doors. The caulking and weather stripping in newer homes should be examined, too.
- Make sure the dryer vents are clean. Static electricity builds up in the cold, dry months, and can cause dryer linkt to catch fire.
- Test all smoke/CO detectors. Change the batteries if necessary.
- Get an emergency kit ready. Include basic items you may need: water, flashlights and batteries, a first aid kit, whistles to signal for help, jumper cables, basic tools, a manual can opener, a small supply of food, radio, candles, lighter, blankets and rope.
Preparing for the cold months ahead
We all know what winter can be like here in Pittsburgh. Performing these important fall maintenance tasks can prevent costly repairs and help your Weaver home and belongings survive our tough Pennsylvania winters.
For more information about Weaver Homes, contact our team of experts. (We live here, too, so we’ll probably be raking leaves right along with you!)