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Your Guide to Fall Home Maintenance

We’re slowly starting to feel the cooler weather creep in, and you know what that means …

  • Get cozy sweaters out of storage
  • Stock up on chili fixings
  • Purchase colourful selection of gourds
  • Light cranberry-scented candles
  • Consume many pumpkin spice lattes

If you’re a homeowner, however, there are a few more things you should add to you fall ‘to do’ list, so your home is cold-weather-ready too.

Service furnace / change filter: My grandmother recently turned 95. She’s a pretty hip lady. She tries to stay current and embrace new trends, unless they involve foregoing her landline or setting the dinner table without a suitable table cloth. She remembers, as a child, warming her bed with a tea-towel-wrapped baked potato before turning in for the night. Yep, a baked potato! As character-building as I’m sure that experience was, I am not taking any chances with my source of heat this winter. Before the temperature drops too much, it’s a good idea to have your furnace serviced and the filter changed. Regular maintenance appointments not only contribute to the longevity of your furnace, they prevent it from conking out in the middle of winter. As a bonus, many furnace companies will service your furnace, a/c, hot water tank, and gas fireplace at the same time or under a service plan.

Change the batteries in smoke and carbon monoxide detectors: When it comes to refreshing the batteries in my detectors, I try to follow the ‘spring forward/fall back’ approach, so it gets done twice a year.

Clean humidifier filter and flush hot water tank to remove sediment: There are some great online tutorials that provide step-by-step instructions on cleaning your humidifier filter and flushing your hot water tank. You can even do a search based on your actual brand and model.

Drain and store hoses / turn off outdoor faucets: To prevent water from sitting in your pipes and freezing, make sure that when you turn off the water at the shut-off valve, you then turn on each outdoor faucet and let it drain.

Clean out gutters and clear all debris from downspouts: It’s also a good idea to make sure that your downspouts are in the down position. This will guide any rain or snow melt away from the foundation of your home. If you notice a build-up of debris around your foundation, you should rake this away as well, so moisture doesn’t get trapped.

Inspect your roof for missing or damaged shingles: Climbing up on a snow-covered, icy roof is never a good idea, so it’s best to check things out before winter descends.

Check all exterior weather stripping and caulking: Re-caulking is an easy fix and could go a long way in helping to keep your energy costs down. Furthermore, if you live in an area with critters (mice, squirrels, etc.) even the tiniest opening is an invitation to move in for the winter!

Bring in plastic pots and planters: Because plastic will crack in the cold, you’ll certainly want to bring in any pots and planters. In terms of transitioning plants from outside to inside, there are some great resources online that detail how to do this.