Temperatures are dropping and it’s time to bring out the jackets! Finally. It’s also the time of the year to take care of some of the big home maintenance and repair projects. Even in the northern Texas area, it can get pretty cold with temperatures dropping below freezing in the coldest of days.
So now is the time to get it done before it’s too cold, so you can prevent any damage from melting ice, winter storms, or any other kind of structural damage in the winter. Here are 15 fall home maintenance tips to keep in mind to zip up your property for winter.
Fall Home Maintenance Tips
- Maintain the bushes and trees
- Rake the yard
- Clear the gutters and downspouts of debris
- Conduct exterior repairs
- Seal all openings and gaps
- Inspect the condition of walkways, porches, and railways
- Stock up on winter materials
- Shut off exterior hoses and faucets
- Install weatherstripping
- Inspect safety devices
- Remove window air conditioning units
- Clean dryer vents
- Deep clean the kitchen
- Check energy efficiency
- Schedule a chimney cleaning
1. Maintain the bushes and trees
If there are a lot of trees in your yard, you may want to hire a professional service to have them trimmed. Otherwise if not properly pruned, falling limbs during winter storms can increase the risk of them dying. During the fall season, trees are becoming dormant, and keeping them properly trimmed can also decrease the chance of disease.
Also, keep in mind that fall is not the time to be planting new trees. Because the roots are not as quick to grow during colder temperatures, they may die during the winter. But for established trees, arborists recommend a fungicide called diplopia to prevent the risk of disease.
Even after having them pruned, you’ll want to keep an eye on them for signs of diseases, such as dead branches, early change in leaf color, or pine needles turning brown or becoming thin.
2. Rake the yard
Fallen leaves make the ground look colorful, but too many on the ground after the snow melts encourages spring mold and mildew growth. Make the job easier on yourself and get a lightweight, plastic rake and use gloves to protect your hands. There are also handheld leaf scoops to make the leaf bagging go by faster.
3. Clear the gutters and downspouts of debris
After the majority of leaves have fallen off the trees, clean out the gutters and downspouts of sticks, dirt, leaves, and other debris. If you aren’t too comfortable getting on a ladder, you can also hire help. Just know that clogged gutters cause the water to spill over, seep through the foundation, and flood the basement.
4. Conduct exterior repairs
Inspect the exterior side of your property. Look out for any damage to the siding, foundation, or roof. If you find anything that needs maintenance or repairs, make sure to fit it in the schedule before winter.
5. Seal all openings and gaps
Nuisance critters are scurrying to find dens and shelters during the fall, and the holes underneath your deck or even cracks in your foundation provide the perfect homes. Don’t cut any corners; mice only need a few inches of a hole to squeeze through and they have a home. Just make sure that everything is property secured, either with plywood, cement, or hardware cloth.
6. Inspect the condition of walkways, porches, and railways
If the yard is covered in ice and snow, just walking to and from your home can be dangerous. There’s not much you can do about preventing the ice, but you can make sure that your walkways, porches, and railways are in good condition to withstand the ice, snow, and freezing temperatures. Be sure to look them over and make any repairs if needed.
7. Stock up on winter materials
In the northern parts of Texas, it surely gets cold, so the fall season is the time to prepare. Here’s a checklist:
- Make sure that shovels and ice scrapers are in good condition and replace any that aren’t
- Stock up on pet- and plant-safe ice melting salt
- Stock up on emergency kits for the car and at home
- Stock up on firewood
- Make sure that the snowblower is in good working condition and has fuel
8. Shut off exterior hoses and faucets
Prevent your pipes from freezing by turning off the water to exterior hoses and faucets. Make sure that everything is drained to prevent them from freezing.
9. Use weatherstripping
When applied properly, it can make a big difference in your energy costs and keep the place warm. Add in door sweeps to keep out the cold winter draft and you’re all set!
10. Inspect safety devices
This tip is probably most important as the last thing you’ll want to experience is a disaster in the middle of a storm. Be sure to check off the following from your to do list:
- Test all smoke detectors and that they’re running on batteries less than six months old.
- Check the expiration date on your fire extinguisher and make sure it’s functional.
- Have a professional test your home for radon and have any issues fixed before winter.
11. Remove window air conditioning units
If your home uses air conditioning units in the summer, they should always be removed in the fall. But if you are required to leave them in, you can cover the exterior part of it with an insulating wrap to keep the cold air out of the system.
12. Clean dryer vents
Lint buildup in the dryer is a problem for everyone. The dryer works harder, clothes don’t get dry, energy costs go up, but worst of all, the threat of a fire is just a spark away. This would be the best time to have the dryer professionally cleaned out and hire a service to do the same for the air ducts.
13. Deep clean the kitchen
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a clean kitchen to cook in for the holidays? Cleaning beforehand can also help everything to work efficiently. And it looks great. Here’s the checklist:
- Clean the light fixtures
- Scrub the tile and grout
- Vacuum the refrigerator coils
- Wash the walls and backsplash
- Clean and wipe down the garbage can and recycling bins
- Clean small appliances like the toaster, microwave, blender, coffee machine, etc.
- Degrease the range hood and filter
- Clean the oven
14. Check energy efficiency
There are professional auditors that can assess the overall energy efficiency in your home. After the audit, they’ll give you a list of tips and recommendations in order to lower your costs. Even simple things like installing weatherstripping and keeping your dryer vents clean can make a huge difference.
15. Schedule a chimney cleaning
Keeping your chimney and furnace clean is extremely important for your safety. Also make sure to have a chimney cap if you don’t already. It will keep critters from crawling down into your home!
What to Do in Case of Emergency
Taking the steps mentioned above can sound like a lot of work but it’s surely a lot less than if an emergency were to occur. Take flooding or a house fire for example, many can be prevented by taking a few simple steps.
But there are also cases that cannot be prevented. If you are in this situation, knowing what to do right away can save a lot of time and money in the restoration process. The first step is to call your insurance company and report the incident. Then you must call a restoration company right away.
ServiceMaster of North Texas is an experienced restoration provider located in the Dallas, TX area and is available 24/7 to respond to emergencies. Whether you experienced a dryer fire or basement flooding, we will respond immediately to restore both the property and your peace of mind.
From extracting excess water to wiping soot off building materials, we will handle all aspects of the process to have your home restored just before winter.
Don’t hesitate to give us a call at (972) 284-0757 in the case of an emergency situation.