Autumn is a common time for many homeowners to spend some extra attention on upkeep and maintenance to preparing your home to withstand the potentially harsh winter weather and temperature conditions that may await you. By making maintenance part of your annual fall routine you can identify potential problems before they arise and help prepare your home and property for what Mother Nature has to offer. Our Risk Control professionals recommend the following home maintenance to help you prepare for the coming winter:
- Check gutters for damage and confirm they’re securely attached to the house.
- Clean gutters and downspouts to keep debris from accumulating. This is especially important during the fall season when leaves may collect in gutters.
- Have your heating system cleaned and inspected annually by a qualified technician.
- Replace your furnace filter in accordance with manufacturer’s instructions.
- Have your chimney cleaned and maintained by a professional.
- Insulate your water pipes if you live in areas exposed to freezing temperatures.
- Clean the clothes dryer exhaust duct and space under and behind the dryer. Remove lint and dust that may have accumulated inside the dryer in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendation.
- Check electric outlets for loose-fitting plugs or receptacles. Be sure not to overload electrical outlets and consider upgrading ungrounded two-prong outlets to newer grounded units.
- Keep a multi-purpose fire extinguisher accessible. Confirm that it is fully charged and ready for operation.
- Inspect your smoke detectors. Make sure you have a smoke detector in each bedroom or sleeping area and also, a smoke detector in the hallway outside each sleeping area. You should also make sure you have at least one smoke detector on each floor of your home, including your basement. Test them monthly and change the battery annually or as needed.
- Install weather stripping or caulking around windows and doors to prevent drafts and to lower heating bills.
- Trim any tree limbs that are dangerously close to power lines or the roof of your house.
The steps you take during the fall can help protect your home and property from more potentially expensive damage and emergency repairs in the colder months to come.