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This autumn, try your hand at a little home maintenance so you can feel the results come winter. Just a little bit of preventative care invested into your home before the weather gets cold will reap huge dividends down the line. As the days grow shorter, time to hunker down and take a look at the trouble spots that, if left unchecked, could result in a disaster later on.

Here’s a brief checklist of the essential home safety and maintenance chores to check on this fall.

Check the Furnace

Your local HVAC inspector can do the trick wonderfully. Having one come out to your home to look for leaks, change the filter, and check your heating will save time and energy if the heater were to go out during the cold of winter.

Inspect Your Roof

This is key to preventative care. Check the attic (if you have one) first to see if you can spot any leaks or things coming loose. Once you’ve finished with your indoor inspection, make it to the outside. From afar, stand back and see from the ground-level if you can spot any eyesores. Those are usually your trouble spots. Then, climb up on top of the roof and look for stained, destroyed or missing tiles. If the damage is extensive due to a hailstorm, call your home insurance policy to see if they cover it. Otherwise, replace the tiles yourself or call for a roofing inspector.

Seal Up Any Gaps or Cracks 

Another important step before winter to take, check all the cracks and gaps around your home to see if there’s any loss of heat. What may seem like only a few little gaps can add up to a whole vent that – if left unsealed – can drastically reduce the temperatures inside your home and lead to higher energy cost. If you find any gaps, you can fix them yourself by caulking around your home’s perimeter. Check around door frames, windows, electrical outlets, heating units, room air conditioners, and around drain pipes for a thorough inspection. 

Clean Sprinklers and Gutters

Having an active sprinkler system in winter could mean that your pipe will burst. Make sure to turn off your water at the main valve, open your drain valves, removing water from the system, and shut off the automatic controller as well. 

Take Care of Your Landscape

You don’t want any water flowing into your foundation, so assess the ground around your house to see if you can help drain it downward. Weeds can spring up in all seasons, so sprinkle some fertilizer and plant new bulbs for Spring. 

Apply Weather Stripping

One of the basic needs of any home is insulation, and weather stripping helps you accomplish that fast. Well-worth the investment, weather stripping is something can will benefit your house in the long-term and can be applied where two surfaces meet. Apply to the space around the windows and doors to give your home a very tight airseal, saving money on heating during the winter. Quick tip: Use tape for doors and windows that won’t be opened, felt for the sides or tops of doors and window frames, use foam for the bottom of window sashes or around the frame or a loose-fitting door, and vinyl tubing (the longest lasting at 5 years) for windows and doors.  

Get a Professional Home Inspection

If you don’t feel up to the task to analyze, inspect, and take care of all these steps in our home maintenance checklist, it’s sometimes best to hire a professional to do the work for you. The extra money on professional help still outweighs the cost, for safety’s sake and for the integrity of your home. If the licensed professional does discover something, however, it may save you much more on home maintenance costs. If doing it yourself might be more of a problem than hiring someone else, or you’re worried about doing more damage to your own property, then it might be time to hire a professional. 

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