Fall Maintenance & Getting Ready for Winter

ARLINGTON, VA- FEBRUARY 05: Snow removal equip...Image by Getty Images via @daylife

Fall Maintenance & Getting Ready for Winter

Well it’s the 3rd week of November here, up here in the NorthEast we’ve been raking leaves & getting our yards cleaned up & ready for winter. Thought I’d post this with some helpful information to remember.

1. Take a look at your Roof:

Check out your roof & chimney, this is a great time of the year to do last minute repairs before the cold weather is upon us with ice & snow. Check for flashings & where materials meet to make sure there’s no gaps or anything loose. Get your chimney cleaned & consider having a cap installed.

2. Check & Clean your Gutters:

Clean out your gutters of all the leaves and other debris that can clog them, as well as the downspouts & extensions. This can help avoid ice buildup & make for proper drainage away from your home. Watch out for the power lines!! Have help to steady the ladder whenever using a ladder, when in doubt call a roofer (they always have great ladders).

3. Check Your Windows, Doors & Siding:

Check the outside & inside of your windows to make sure they close properly & any gaps are properly filled to avoid heat loss in the winter. It’s a bit too cold to paint but some patches can be done to loose outside siding to avoid water & ice penetration & further damage. A local handyman and your local power company can assist you with this as well as an energy audit. This Old House has an excellent article on fixing drafty doors & windows: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20152571,00.html  as well as how to avoid frozen pipes: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/video/0,,20045368,00.html  .

4. Check your foundation to make sure that the landscape sheds water away from your property so water will not come inside. Remember ice buildup around the foundation can act as a funnel for water back towards your foundation.

5. Check your railings & walkways:

Make sure your railings & walkways are clear & in good condition before the wet leaves, snow & ice can make them treacherous. Remember you might be in good shape but visitors to your property may not be so robust. Slip & falls can really ruin a visit.

6. Check Your Winter Tools:

Check & have your snowblower serviced early before the first snow rush, change the spark plug, change the oil, filters & check belts & chains or have it serviced early. Make sure you have a good supply of fuel & any additives that might be needed. Check out your shovels, ice chippers for cracks, bends or other signs of failure before you really need them. Also check your supply of sand, ice melt, rocksalt etc. Cheaper to buy now than the morning of the first storm. Make sure you have enough windshield washer fluid for those traveling & visiting. Get a AAA membership or look into some good jumper cables & learn how to use them properly before you need them on the side of the road. And while at it make sure you have a good spare tire & flashlight with batteries. Check your car battery & anti-freeze early.

7. Put Away Your Fall Tools Properly:

Clean out any debris from your rakes & shovels, a light coating of a machine oil will help them avoid rusting over the damp, cold winter. Check the handles & shafts for cracks. Store them safely out of the way in a shed, basement or barn out of the weather. This Old House has a great article on how to put away your lawnmower: http://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/how-to/intro/0,,20222923,00.html  .

Hopefully you’ll enjoy your end of fall & beginning of winter. The holiday season is a favorite of mine here.

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