Shorter days, cooler nights, and falling leaves signal the arrival of fall. Now is the time to take on a few chores that should be completed before the first chill. While many of us look forward to autumn’s cooler temperatures, the chores involved may seem daunting. Unfortunately, putting these tasks off can have a negative impact on the comfort of your home. Make your home ready for the coming months by spreading these chores over the next few weeks to prepare your home for fall.

1. Prepare Your Home for Fall By Cleaning Your Gutters

Clogged gutters can channel water down the side of your home, causing water damage to walkways, basements, siding, and foundations. Overflowing water can also destroy your landscaping. Now that the leaves have begun to fall, you need to make sure your gutters are clear and ready to catch the rain and leaves. Add gutter cleaning to your list of autumn home maintenance chores.

Use a ladder to reach your gutters and clear any debris from up there. Leaf-blower attachments to reach gutters are helpful if you live in a one-story house. Once you’ve finished cleaning, consider using mesh guard covers for your gutters to reduce the likelihood of clogging. If you don’t feel safe cleaning your gutters yourself, hire a professional to do it for you.

2. Service Your HVAC

When you prepare your home for fall, clean the unit’s coils before tucking it away for the winter by removing leaves and twigs and hosing it down. Once your AC is clean and dry, cover it to keep ice and debris from causing damage. You should also switch your thermostat to heating and do a test run of your furnace, especially now that your cooling needs are over. Perform a DIY air duct cleaning or hire a professional, replace the filter, and make sure the vents are uncovered. Regularly servicing your HVAC helps it run more efficiently and last longer.

3. Perform an Overall Fire Safety Check

You can reduce the risk of fire by:

• Checking your fire alarm systems and making sure there’s a functioning, up to code smoke and carbon monoxide detector on each floor. Press the test button to confirm that your detectors are operational and replace any batteries that need replacing.
• Having an easy to access fire extinguisher, preferably the multi-task model, installed. Teach your family members how to use one and check existing fire extinguishers for scratches, dents, corrosion, and other damages.
• Clearing the spaces around your fireplace, furnace, heater, and stove. Remove any flammable substances from such areas since you’ll be using them more often.

4. Check Your Wood-Burning Stove or Fireplace

Having a wood-burning appliance makes your home cozy during fall and winter. When you prepare your home for fall, you need to make sure your wood-burning stove or fireplace is working properly. Check for cracks, holes, or signs of corrosion. Hire a professional chimney inspector to perform an inspection every year. They’ll be able to tell you about any needed repairs and whether or not your chimney needs to be cleaned so you’ll be ready for the colder weather. Fall is the perfect time to schedule this service.

5. Disconnect Outdoor Plumbing

Don’t forget to turn off your outdoor hoses, faucets, and sprinklers when preparing your home for fall, especially if your area is prone to freezing temperatures. Once you’ve turned off your outdoor water supply and disconnected your outdoor hoses, run your sprinkler system and open your outdoor faucets to drain out any remaining water. Once drained, insulate your pipes to keep them from freezing.

While the tips mentioned above can help prepare your home for fall, they are not the only preparations or precautions you can take. Others include trimming off dead tree branches, fertilizing your lawn, and checking that your doors and windows are properly sealed.

Lannes Real Estate Inspections offers home inspection services to Chicagoland and Southern Wisconsin, including chimney inspections. Contact us to book yours today.