As the summer heat subdues and leaves change colors, beyond pulling out sweaters and rakes, it's also time to prepare your house for autumn.
Each season requires different types of home maintenance, so here are five essential home maintenance tasks to do for fall.
Inspect your roof
Your roof is integral, keeping your house warm, dry, insulated and protected from the outdoors. Just like a car needs a regular oil change, your roof needs a regular inspection to make sure it is in good condition.
Don't wait for the harsh winter months to see if the roof is leaking or has ice backup. Ice backup forms in winter and is caused by poor ventilation or inadequate insulation in the attic. Once it occurs, it’s almost impossible to get rid of.
Fall is the best season to get your roof inspected to check for proper ventilation, prevent ice backup and inspect for signs of damage. Roofing expert Kevin Campopiano recommends checking for several potential problems:
- Visible signs of leaks
- Curling or buckling shingles
- Missing or cracked shingles
- Granule loss on the roof
A leaky roof can cause long-term damage to the interior of the home and large out-of-pocket expenses. If you see any of these signs, qualified roofers can offer a free inspection and quote to replace the roof before the end of fall.
Check windows and attic insulation
Homeowners should make sure windows are sealed, or hire a company like Campo Roofing to inspect and install replacement windows, if necessary, to rid your home of drafts.
As for the attic, if it is cooler upstairs than downstairs, you may have inadequate insulation.
“When you look outside of your home through the windows, do your neighbors have more snow on their roofs than you do? In the winter, snow on the roof means your home is well-insulated,” Campopiano said. "If your roof doesn’t have as much snow on it as your neighbors, something may be wrong with the insulation in your attic."
Gutters control water flow, away from your roof, walls and foundation. When they get clogged with leaves and debris throughout the year, they no longer function properly.
“Clogged gutters cause water to overflow and infiltrate through the basement," Campopiano said. "Water pools on mulch and can seep into the basement."
Clean out your rain gutters, ideally each spring and fall. Cleaning your gutters in the autumn ensures they are clear of debris and will function properly in the cold, wet months to come.
Prepare your yard and garden
When leaves fall from trees and pile in the yard, they suffocate the grass. Take the time to rake, mulch, fertilize and aerate your lawn. If you have a garden, till your vegetable garden and plant perennial plants for spring. If necessary, protect cold-sensitive plants.
After you’ve groomed the grass and garden, look at the large bushes and trees in your yard. Trim any large, unruly branches so they don’t break and fall in the winter. Prune bushes and cut back anything overgrown.
Secure the shed and yard tools
After you’ve crossed the fall to-dos off your checklist, clean your yard tools and coat them in oil to keep them in good shape until spring. Drain your hoses and any other outside water features. Organize and lock your shed.
With a little time and the help of experts, your home will be prepared to protect you and your family through the cold months.