As the seasons transition, it’s essential to prepare your home for the arrival of autumn with its falling leaves, cooler temperatures, and impending winter storms. Addressing a few maintenance tasks now can help you avoid problems later in the season, allowing you to fully relish the joys of autumn without concerns. While most of the tasks outlined below are manageable for the typical homeowner, if you prefer, you can opt to hire a professional to handle them, which can prove to be a worthwhile investment. By taking preventative measures, you’ll ultimately save money in the long term, as it can prevent costly and potentially hazardous damage to your home. Explore our autumn home maintenance checklist and gain valuable insights on maintaining your gutters, roofs, fireplaces, and more.
Perform a Roof Inspection and Repair Loose Shingles.
Check your roof to ensure your shingles are intact and firmly in place. Loose shingles provide space for water to seep under your roof, moisture can cause rot, mold, and leaks, leading to much bigger problems down the road.
Turn off Exterior Faucets.
Turn off all exterior faucets and drain water from outdoor pipes, valves and sprinkler heads to prevent pipe bursts. If your home is 10 years or older, consider installing frost-proof faucets. If your house doesn’t have a water shut-off you can purchase a styrofoam cover from any hardware store, which will help protect it from the wind and prevent freezing.
Install Heating Cables.
Roof heating cables will help you avoid long-term damage caused by freezing and ice build-up. Before installing the cables make sure your eavestroughs and roof have been cleaned thoroughly. Affix roof cable clips to your roof in a zigzag pattern. Finally, attach and secure your heating cable to the clips.
Seal Gaps and Cracks in Caulking.
Sealing the gaps and cracks around your windows and doors is essential to keeping your home warm and using less energy in the winter. Any gaps between your siding and window or door frames should have caulking applied to them. Use your finger (a great trick is to keep a cup of water beside you and dip your finger in to moisten it before smoothing your seal) or a wet caulk-smoothing tool within 2 to 5 minutes of application to smooth your caulk seal.
Clean Gutters and Add Gutter Guards.
Clean gutters allow water to easily flow down from your rooftops and away from your home, preventing damage to your foundation and ice buildup on your roof. Ice damming can damage your shingles and allow moisture into you attic, compromising your insulation and building envelope. Installing gutter guards is an easy and economical way to prevent a buildup of leaves and other debris in your gutters, making winter prep next year that much faster.
Window and Door Weather Stripping.
Weather stripping your windows and doors is another great way to keep the cold out. To find out where weather stripping is needed, run your hand along your door seam or window casing and feel for drafts, and if you can see daylight anywhere, you definetly need some weather stripping. Door sweeps and adhesive backed insulation foam are easy to install and are very effective draft deterrents.
Book an HVAC Maintenance Appoinment.
Regular maintenance of your HVAC unit can improve performance, increase the life of your unit and save you money. Some common signs of required maintenance include leaking around the outside unit, inconsistent temperatures or if your system constantly turns on and off.
Top up Your Attic Insulation.
If too much heat escapes through your attic, it can cause snow on your roof to repeatedly melt and refreeze, creating a thick ice dam that can cause serious damage. The solution is to top up your attic insulation. Start by measuring the depth of your insulation, if the levels are less than 4 inches your attic needs to be topped up. Bags of loose insulation can be purchased from most big box home improvement stores. Be sure to wear proper PPE when working with insulation: mask, safety glasses, gloves, long sleeve shirt, and long pants.
Inspect Your Foundation for Cracks.
Your foundation is an important component of your building envelope and needs to be maintained to prevent water from getting into your basement. Cracks above grade can often be repaired with products like Rhino Carbon Fibre (https://www.rhinocarbonfiber.com/epoxy-polyurethane-concrete-repair).. “”) Cracks below grade, in an unfinished basement, can often be repaired from the interior.
Check Your Grading Around Your Foundation.
Make sure that your grading slopes away from your foundation, to keep water flowing away from the home.
Change Your Furnace Filter.
Replace the furnace filter monthly to ensure efficiency and keep dust particles from penetrating the clean, heated air. Inspect your furnace for leaks and test for carbon monoxide. If your furnace is older, cracks can form and cause deadly poisonous gas to escape into your home. It is also recommended you invest in carbon monoxide detectors to monitor the air in your home. To keep your home nice and toasty and to help curb high electric bills, install a smart thermostat. Keep your heat settings lower while you are asleep and program it to raise just before you wake.
Change Your Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Detector Batteries.
A great habit to get into is to change your batteries every time we change our clocks (daylight savings), every spring and fall.
Clean Laundry/Dryer Ducts.
Dryer lint built up in the duct behind the machine not only reduces the efficiency of your dryer but can also cause fires in the home — and should be inspected regularly. If you notice that there is a buildup, be sure to clean it or hire a professional to do the job for you. Also make sure your exterior vent has screening to prevent any critter from nesting inside.
For Damon Bennett, construction is a way of life. A trusted expert and television staple for over a decade, Damon has earned the respect of industry heavy weights and the admiration of fans worldwide.
A childhood fascination with restoration turned into a full-fledged career of making people’s dreams come true. Damon’s solid workmanship, along with a reputation for being a stand up guy with a big heart, landed him a job working on the top show on HGTV. He quickly climbed the ranks and became the Crew Supervisor. For nearly ten years he was an integral key to the team. These days Damon lends his expertise to homeowners and DIY’ers across North America with instructional keynote presentations, Q&A sessions and videos. He continues to run his construction company building and renovating homes across North America.