Fall To-Do’s: 10 Things to Do to Prepare Your Home for Winter

  1. Check Your Furnace

    Schedule an appointment with a heating and cooling pro to get your heating system checked and tuned up for the coming heating season. Change your furnace filters, too.Click here for offers.

  2. Remove Garden Hoses from Faucets

    Remove garden hoses from outdoor faucets.  This prevents water back-up in the faucets and in the plumbing pipes just inside your exterior walls that can be caused by leaving hoses attached.  Make this an early fall priority so a sudden cold snap doesn’t sneak up and cause damage.  Have exterior connections inspected by a professional if have concerns about damage or leaks.

  3. Drain Your Sprinkler System

    Time to drain your irrigation system. Even buried irrigation lines can freeze, leading to busted pipes and broken sprinkler heads.

  4. De-Gunk Your Gutters

    Clogged rain gutters can cause ice dams, which can lead to expensive repairs. After the leaves have fallen, clean your gutters to remove leaves, twigs, and gunk.

  5. Direct Your Drainage

    Take a close look at the soil around your foundation and make sure it slopes away from your house at least 6 vertical inches over 10 feet. That way, you’ll keep water from soaking the soils around your foundation, which could lead to cracks and leaks.

  6. Seal Air Leaks

    Preventing moisture from getting inside your walls is one of the least expensive — and most important — of your fall maintenance jobs. You’ll also seal air leaks that waste energy.

  7. Eyeball Your Roof

    If you have a steep roof or a multistory house, stay safe and use binoculars to inspect your roof from the ground.Look for warning signs: Shingles that are buckled, cracked, or missing; rust spots on flashing. Any loose, damaged, or missing shingles should be replaced immediately.

  8. Prune Plants

    Late fall is the best time to prune plants and trees — when the summer growth cycle is over. Your goal is to keep limbs and branches at least 3 feet from your house so moisture won’t drip onto roofing and siding, and to prevent damage to your home’s exterior during high winds.

  9. Give Your Fireplace a Once-Over

    To make sure your fireplace is safe, grab a flashlight and look up inside your fireplace flue to make sure the damper opens and closes properly. Open the damper and look up into the flue to make sure it’s free of birds’ nests, branches and leaves, or other obstructions. You should see daylight at the top of the chimney.  Check the firebox for cracked or missing bricks and mortar.

  10. Clean and Stow Your Mower

    If your mower sits for months with gas in its tank, the gas will slowly deteriorate, which can damage internal engine parts.

Yearly plumbing to-do’s

Just like with your heating and cooling systems, yearly maintenance of your home’s plumbing will help prevent minor issues turning into major problems. By following these tips, you can avoid plumbing issues as well as conserve water and save on your energy bills.

Repair leaks – that dripping shower head or faucet will waste water and run up your water bill. Check all pipe connections for mold or musty odors which are signs of a leak.

Clear out slow drains – that slow drain will turn into a clog if not addressed.

Clean faucet aerators and shower heads – built up mineral deposits can reduce water flow and effect water pressure.

Inspect sewer lines – this can be one of the most costly home repairs, a yearly video sewer line inspection will find the cause of the problem.

Flush water heater tank – rust and sediment build up can reduce the heating efficiency of the tank and reduce the life of the water heater, flushing the tank every year will prevent this and maximize the life of the equipment. For optimal performance, the water heater temperature setting should be at 120 degrees Fahrenheit.

Fix that flapper – a running toilet wastes a lot of water as well as can add hundreds of dollars to your water bill, fix running toilets as quickly as possible.

Clean gutters as often as needed – clearing debris and leaves from your gutters ensures that water can drain easily throughout the year and prevent clogged down spouts.

Inspect and clean sump pump – when exposed to extremely cold temperatures, sump pumps will freeze and stop working. Before the cold weather arrives, have your sump pump inspected and cleaned.

Source: ABC Southwest Plumbing & A/C “Annual Plumbing Maintenance Checklist” 12.5.15