Before winter strikes, inspect the roof for missing or loose shingles. ATTRIBUTION: (Wikimedia Commons)

As winter approaches, the days get shorter and the weather gets cooler. Now is the perfect time to finish up those critical maintenance tasks that you didn’t get to during the summer. I actually prefer doing outdoor projects in the fall to avoid the extreme heat of the summer sun. Performing maintenance in autumn still leaves ample time to make any necessary repairs before the onset of winter. Roll up your sleeves and complete your home maintenance tasks with this list.

Clear the Gutters

Leaves, twigs, and other debris can cause a blockage in your gutters. When rain and melted snow is unable to pass the clog, water builds up and eventually overflows. Too much water can damage your home’s foundation and siding, leading to thousands of dollars in repairs. Clean your gutters at least once a year or more often if you have overhanging trees.

Inspect Your Roof for Loose or Missing Shingles

It’s one of the most important parts of your home, so it’s important to keep your roof clean and well-maintained. Start by removing any leaves, branches, or debris. It can also be helpful to hire a professional to inspect the roof for lifted, missing, or loosening shingles, as well as other problems such as worn spots or mold growth. As chimneys, skylights, and vent openings are prone to leaks, also have these areas of the roof thoroughly inspected.

Give Your Fireplace a Safety Check

I bet you can already imagine snuggling in front of your fireplace this winter. To ensure that it’s ready for use, perform a safety check in the fall. Hire a licensed chimney specialist to properly clean and inspect your fireplace or wood or pellet stove to ensure that every component is functioning as it should. Also remove any debris, decorations, or combustible materials near the hearth.

Clean and Store Your Patio Furniture

Patio furniture can be found in a variety of materials, from fabric and aluminum to wood and wicker. Each requires its own unique maintenance techniques. Take the time to thoroughly clean your patio furniture. Most types of patio furniture can be cleaned using soap and water, but a pressure washer can speed up the process. If you’re storing your furniture, protect the pieces with covers and place them in a dry, clean space.

Prepare Your Deck and Patio Areas for Winter

Prepare your deck and patio areas by removing any décor that could become damaged in the winter, such as soil-filled pots that can crack when frozen. Next, sweep all dirt and debris from the deck or patio. Leaves can become stuck in between the boards and rot, causing the boards to rot with them. Use a putty knife to clean inside crevices. Once the deck is clean, use a waterproof sealant to repel water.

Chalk and Seal Openings

Air leaks around your home can cause your energy bills to skyrocket. Take the time to caulk around door frames and windows to prevent heat from escaping. Cracks or gaps may also be found in the foundation or siding. Be sure to perform this job in autumn, as most caulks won’t cure properly when the temperature drops too low.

Stow Yard Equipment

Prepare your yard equipment for the winter to come. Start by draining any fuel from gas-operated equipment such as chain saws, lawn mowers, and leaf blowers. Remove the nozzles from any garden hoses and drain them of water. Coil the hoses to prevent them from kinking, and hang them in a dry place.