The long-awaited season of sweater days, football watching, apple picking, and pumpkin everything is near. Additionally, as the leaves start to turn into a golden hue, homeowners are presented with the perfect opportunity to prepare for the winter months ahead. The following fall home maintenance checklist can help you identify potential problems before they develop into costly repairs.
TOUCH UP EXTERIOR PAINT
This is a project you can likely handle yourself (although there’s always the option to hire a painter). Look closely at your home’s siding, trim, and flashing to identify any areas in need of repainting. After having your local home improvement store match your home’s existing paint, and you’ve grabbed the right supplies (i.e., primer, paint paintbrushes and/or rollers, painter’s tape, wire brushes, scrapers, rags, and drop cloths), you can move on to the next step. Scrape, prime, and repaint areas where the paint has been damaged by the sun or water.
DE-GUNK YOUR GUTTERS
Clogged rain gutters can lead to rot problems and pest infestations, not to mention water backups, all of which can be costly to repair. Clean your gutters frequently throughout the season to remove leaves, twigs and other debris, or do it once by waiting until after all the leaves have fallen. You can hire a professional for this project or do it yourself. Either way, make sure the gutters aren’t sagging, and that all gutter brackets are tightened.
CHECK YOUR GARAGE DOOR
Schedule an appointment with a local garage door repair professional to have your garage door inspected and maintained this fall. Garage door maintenance should include adjusting springs and cables; lubricating moving parts; tightening hardware, tracks, and hinges; and inspecting the safety sensors and garage door balance. You should also replace worn or damaged weather stripping.
REPLACE FURNACE FILTERS
The changing season is also the perfect time to check and change dirty furnace filters. This easy task allows your HVAC system to operate more efficiently, ensuring better heat distribution. This is a job you should do every two months anyway, but if you haven’t, now’s the time. Consider having a heating professional check your furnace to ensure optimal performance.
Weatherstripping applied around the frames of windows and doors (your garage door included) helps prevent drafts and cut energy costs. “You can save more than $200 a year in heating and cooling costs” when installing weatherstripping, coupled with the right amount of insulation says Energy Star.
PACK AN EMERGENCY CAR KIT
If you plan on traveling to Northern Arizona this fall or winter, now is a good time to prepare for the unexpected by packing an emergency car kit. If you have a kit, review its contents, replacing anything expired or damaged. At minimum, you should pack jumper cables, a working flashlight, basic tools, a first-aid kit, blankets, water and nonperishable snacks (e.g., power bars, trail mix, peanut butter crackers,etc.). You may also want to consider investing in road side assistance.
DECLUTTER YOUR CLOSETS AND GARAGE
Many times, our garage and closets become dumping grounds, full of things we rarely use or items that have lost their novelty. When it comes to decluttering these spaces, it’s important to have a game plan in mind, and set up organizational systems that are sure to eliminate clutter.
You should start sorting all contents of your closets and/or garage into three piles; toss, donate/sell, and keep. It’s a great idea to increase shelving and use bins in the closets. In the garage, install wall and overhead storage. Items infrequently used, such as holiday decorations and camping gear, should be stored further away than those you use more often (e.g., tools, craft supplies, automotive parts, etc.).