Fall Home Maintenance

fall maintenance

Fall is just around the corner! Falltime brings changing leaves and cooler weather. It also brings the promise that winter isn’t that far behind. Here are some fall home maintenance tips to keep your roof and your home happy and healthy through the cooler seasons. 

Exterior Maintenance

Clean Your Gutters

Autumn time brings falling leaves, which brings hazards to your gutters. One of the most common reasons for blocked gutters is leaves and other debris. Roofs need to shed water, and in most homes, that water flows into a gutter system. Clogged gutters and downspouts can send water back onto the roof, damage shingles, seep through underlayment, and cause leaks.

The first step of fall home maintenance is to clean your gutters. Cleaning your gutters and downspouts ensures something properly directs water away from your roof. Consider installing gutter guards to lessen the amount of cleaning you need to do. 

Trim Back Your Trees

Trimming back trees can reduce any extra leaf fall that may happen, as well as prevent any branches from rubbing against your roof and damaging it. A bonus: trimming back trees can reduce the growth of algae, lichen, and moss which damage your shingles and shorten their lifespan.

Have Your Roof Inspected

Your roof needs a regular checkup to make sure it’s still healthy. Having an expert inspect your roof can catch problems before they result in costly damage to your home. Impending snow and cold temperatures makes your roof vulnerable. The fall is the perfect time for a good in-depth inspection. 

Some things to check for in your professional inspection include:

  • Make sure your inspector checks the flashing around any skylights, pipes, and chimneys. Ice and snow will find their way into any gaps quickly and turn into leaky roofs.
  • If the roof is made of asphalt, it’s best to replace the shingles that have bare spots, are warping, or are curling at the edges.
  • If it’s made of wooden shake, homeowners should check for signs of warping. You should replace the roofing material if at least 25 percent of the wood shingles are damaged.
  • Finally, with a metal roof, signs of damage include pitting, corrosion, or gapping seams. These issues can lead to leaks or underlay damage.

Repair Any Known Problems

If there is a problem with your roof, the winter weather will not make it better. Repairing your roof in the fall is a terrific way to provide peace of mind over the winter and in spring when snow melts and rain comes. 

Check The Trim and Seals

The change in temperature and humidity and normal wear and tear can cause window seals to crack and shrink. Check your windows and doors inside and out for leaks and drafts. Caulk cracks or install weatherstripping around windows and doors, including the garage door. Replace screens with storm windows and clean them if needed.

You can use a screwdriver to probe the wood trim around windows, doors, railings, and decks. Use caulk to fill the holes and gaps or completely replace the wood. 

Prevent Your Pipes From Bursting

Exterior water pipes bursting during cold weather is a problem. To prevent this when the weather gets below freezing, turn off the valves to the exterior hose bibs. Run the water until the pipes are empty. Make sure all you drain the water from the pipes. If not, the water can freeze up and damage the pipes.

System Maintenance

Replace Your Filters

Clean and replace filters in your furnace or heating system. Contact a licensed heating contractor to inspect and service your gas heater or furnace to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. Your local utility company will often provide this service for free.

Check Your Attic

Check the attic to make sure someone installed the insulation properly. The vapor barrier on insulation should face down toward the living space. If someone incorrectly installed it (with the vapor barrier facing up) then the insulation will trap moisture, causing potential water problems. Cut slits in the vapor barrier to allow moisture to escape. To install attic insulation, unroll the insulation with the paper side out. Install small pieces of insulation between the joists on the attic floor. Be careful not to step between the joists.

Check for Pests

Check for pests that try to settle in before winter is here. Pests love attics because they are full of nice warm insulation for nesting, and they offer easy access to the rest of the house. Install a screen behind any gable vents that lead into your attic. This helps to keep the critters out. 

Even after closing off those entryways, pests can still find a way in. The first place to check for any unwanted guests is under the kitchen cupboards and appliances. If you notice pests, call your local pest control or take care of the problem yourself before it gets too cold. 

Safety Checks

Check Your Alarms

Each fall, check carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms and put in fresh batteries. These are very important detectors to have in a home. A smoke alarm can save lives in a house fire. A carbon monoxide detector can also save lives if a home has oil or gas-burning appliances, like a furnace or water heater.

Carbon monoxide is an invisible, odorless byproduct of burning oil or natural gas, and it can be deadly. For just a few dollars, a carbon monoxide detector will sound an alarm if the levels get too high.

Always install carbon monoxide detectors according to the manufacturer’s instructions. They should be installed near each potential source of carbon monoxide and within earshot of the living and sleeping areas.

Final Thoughts

It’s hard to believe that fall is just around the corner. Maintenance throughout the year is key to maintain a long lifespan for your roof, and for your home. Give us a call today at 636-699-0449 so we can give you an inspection and repair any damage before it gets too cold and your energy bills get too high.