As the seasons change, so do the priorities of homeowners as far as around-the-house projects.
With the arrival of fall comes a laundry list of things to do, both inside and out.Where do you start? Here’s a checklist that should help you head in the right direction:
Look for peeling or blistering paint on exterior walls. This is a tell-tale sign that the existing paint film is deteriorating and can no longer provide protection. If left untreated, this can cause deterioration of walls and siding that, in turn, could ultimately lead to expensive repairs down the road. And it wouldn’t hurt to apply a fresh coat of paint or sealer on any interior surface that could come in contact with snow, such as wood floors or stairs.
Clean gutters and downspouts. Replace worn or damaged gutters with new ones that have leaf guards. Leaves are a major culprit behind clogged gutters. And clogged gutters can cause ice dams that can wreak havoc in the winter. Don’t forget to tighten brackets and repair any damaged joints.
Get your heating system checked by a licensed heating professional. And if you have a fireplace or wood stove, inspect them to ensure they’re ready to go when the cold weather sets in. This includes checking for creosote buildup caused by burning wood; clearing any chimney blockages (such as those caused by squirrel or bird nests); repairing faulty dampers, masonry or brickwork; and fixing or replacing damaged chimney caps.
Remove air conditioning units from windows or wrap the exterior portions with a plastic air conditioner cover or a sturdy tarp designed for such use. This will help prevent parts from rusting plus keep cold air from entering the home.
Prep your lawn and garden for winter’s onslaught. Give your garden beds and lawns room to “breathe” by raking up leaves and aerating. Fertilize and winterize trees, shrubs and grass to prepare them for colder temperatures.
Check your home’s roof for damage and/or leaks. If you come across any problems, leave the repair work to the professionals, unless the issues are minor and you’re confident you can handle the job.
Keep heat from escaping by caulking around windows and door frames. This is a great way to cut down on heating bills while reducing the risk of water getting into crevices and freezing, which could result in cracks and mold. And if your windows and doors are past their prime, consider replacing them with energy-efficient products.
Winterize exterior plumbing such as faucets and sprinkler systems to prevent freezing and bursting. Again, unless you know what you’re doing, hire a plumber to tackle this work.
Most importantly, don’t wait until the last minute to take on some or all of these projects. Winter will be here before you know it!