October is here! It’s time to batten down the hatches and prepare for the cold weather with this simple home maintenance checklist.
1. Garden Hoses & Spigots – If you leave your garden hose attached to the spigot throughout the colder months, the water can freeze inside, damaging the spigot and interior pipes. To avoid this, disconnect all hoses as the temperature begins to drop. Let all water drain from the hose before coiling and storing.
2. Leaves – Leaving leaves on the ground throughout the winter promotes rot and creates a haven for insects to burrow. Make sure to clean your gutters before temperatures drop below freezing – this precautionary step will avoid ice damming that leads to structural damage and rot.
3. Exterior Paint – Peeling paint on window frames, porches, and other exterior features attracts water, which can trap moisture long term, leading to rot. Even if your holding off on a proper paint job until Spring, take time this fall to chip away peeling paint wherever you may find it. Even though wood will be exposed, the air and sun will also help it stay dry.
4. Chimney – When chimneys have cracks or flaking bricks, water can seep in and freeze, causing additional deterioration when it expands. Birds, racoons, and other critters like to build nests inside chimneys that restrict airflow and pose potential fire hazards. Luckily, a chimney sweep can inspect for all of the above, he or she can also repair, clean, and correct any problems.
5. Driveways – Water can seep into driveway cracks, leading to more cracking and deflection when conditions become icy. To avoid, fill and patch cracks, then finish the driveway with a sealcoat. It will protect it from not just water and ice, but also wear caused by wind and sun. Sealcoating can be a messy job, so consult a professional before taking this on solo.
6. Air Conditioner – If you have been thinking about investing in an air conditioner cover, keep this in mind: While a cover protects the AC from the elements, it will also protect mice and other rodents attracted to the shelter a cover provides. In this case, less preparation is more. Air conditioners are designed to withstand rain and snow, so it may be best to forgo the cover.
7. Roofing – Hire a professional to inspect your roofing shingles and roof deck for any potential problems. Doing so will allow time to address any roofing issues before winter hits and temperatures drop too low. Cracked shingles or rotted sheathing could become major issues during cold months due to snow and ice build-up.
8. Furnace – Fall is prime time to schedule furnace maintenance, before it is used every day to heat the house during cold months. Don’t put this off! No one wants to freeze in their own home.