Now that fall is here, it’s time to check off some of those important home maintenance tasks and prepare for the long winter ahead. Throughout October and November, I go through my home maintenance checklist to not only maintain my home but also to prevent costly damage later on. With chillier weather approaching, it’s time to put warm-weather items away, make any necessary inspections and repairs, and perform some much-needed cleaning.

Stow Lawn Mowers and Tools

Come late fall, the grass-growing season comes to a halt. Take the time to properly stow away your lawn mower, landscape trimmer, and any gardening tools you won’t need again until spring. You may also want to consider taking your mower to a professional for a tune-up. If you delay until spring, you may end up waiting several weeks for an appointment.

Rake the Lawn and Prune Your Plants

Leaving too many leaves on the lawn over the winter can inhibit optimal growth in the spring. Keep up with raking over the fall months so that your yard is leaf-free when the snow starts to fall. You will also want to prune your trees and plants. Ensure that any trees in your yard are a minimum of three feet from your home to prevent damage.

Clean Gutters and Downspouts

As the days go by, your rain gutters are likely filling up more and more with leaves, twigs, and other debris. Rain gutters and downspouts are designed to channel water away from the home. When blocked, they can lead to flooding, wood rot, and structural issues. To prevent these problems, clean your gutters and downspouts routinely.

Turn off Outdoor Water and Store Hoses

Before the outdoor temperature falls too low, remember to turn off and drain any exterior spigots and hoses. Once all of the water has been removed from the hoses, store them in a warm location off of the floor. If your home has a sprinkler system, you’ll also want to drain and shut it down before winter.

Seal Cracks Around Your Home

Cracks, gaps, and holes found around the outside of your home can let in insects, cool air, and moisture. Keep out critters, reduce heat loss, and lower your energy costs by carefully inspecting the perimeter of your home. Use caulk to seal up any breaches, and place weatherstripping around windows and doors.

Inspect the Roof and Make Repairs

Most of us take an out-of-sight, out-of-mind approach to our roofs. However, over time, roofing materials can succumb to cracking, curling, or buckling. In the fall, inspect your roof or hire a licensed professional to inspect it for you. Repair any damage before winter to prevent water from finding its way into your home.

Have Your Furnace Checked

The last thing you want is for your furnace to break down in the middle of winter. Have your furnace serviced in the fall to ensure that it runs efficiently and safely throughout the cold season. With regular servicing, you can also help prevent the hassle and costs involved in unexpected breakdowns.