10 Fall and Winter Home-Maintenance Tips to Prevent Costly Fixes

With the fall and winter months upon us, now is the time to do some routine maintenance around your home to prepare for the changing weather ahead. Taking the time to do some work now may save on some major expenses later on. Some of these maintenance jobs can be performed by the homeowner, and some may need to be done by professionals. Many homeowners may not know where to begin when trying to figure out what type of routine maintenance needs to be performed on their homes. Hopefully, these tips will give the homeowners a place to start.

Tip #1 – If you have outdoor furniture, make sure to clean all parts of the furniture, including the cushions, prior to putting it up for the winter. If your furniture has metal frames, make sure to check for rust damage and repair it, if necessary, prior to putting up. It is recommended that outdoor furniture be put inside for the winter, if possible. Just remember that if you cover your furniture to allow for airflow so no mold or mildew forms.

Tip #2 – If you have a fireplace, make sure you have the chimney checked out by a professional chimney cleaner before starting the first fire. All chimneys should be checked out at least once a year prior to use to look for any damage and to have it cleaned. This maintenance will prevent possible chimney fires.

Tip #3 – Check your home around windows and doors for air leaks. An easy way to check for leaks is to move a lighter around the window or door frame and see if the flame moves with a breeze. If you find a leak, you can caulk it or you may have to replace the wood frame. If you are unable to repair the leak around a window frame, you can buy a plastic sealing kit from any home improvement store that can be placed on the outside of the window to prevent air from getting in. For door leaks around the bottom of the door, you can put on a new door sweep. By having these leaks repaired can save you money on your energy bill during the cold months.

Tip #4 – Make sure you have proper insulation in both your attic and basement. While checking your insulation, if you see any dark, dirty spots, it may indicate you have air leaks coming into your home. You will need to try and locate these leaks and repair them.

Tip #5 – Fall is a good time to do some indoor painting. The weather will still be warm enough outside to leave windows open to ventilate during painting. Most of your professional painters are not as busy in the fall months as the rest of the year. You may be able to get a good price to have your home painted. After the painting is done, make sure your leftover paint is stored in a heated area of your home, like a garage, to prevent it from freezing.

Tip #6 – You will need to drain the gas out of your gasoline powered equipment during the winter. If you are unable to drain the gas, there are products available in home improvement stores to put into your gasoline for the winter months.

Tip #7 – Make sure you have enough wood cut and stacked to burn during the winter months. By making sure you have enough wood now will prevent you from running out and having to pay a higher price for it later. Always make sure you have a small stack close to your home to have quick access to if there is a lot of snow on the ground. When buying wood, make sure it is not “green”. Green wood will not burn. If you buy green wood, you may have to buy more that can be burned before your green wood dries out. If this happens, you are paying double for your wood for the winter.

Tip #8 – If you have a gas powered generator you keep on hand for possible power outages, make sure you have containers of gas for the generator. Keep the gasoline stored in a garage or outside storage unit. Never store gasoline inside your home. Test your generator and make sure it is in good working order.

Tip # 9 – Make sure your snow shovels and/or snow blower are in good shape. Check your shovel handle for possible cracks or breaks and replace if needed. Now is the best time to buy a new shovel. If you wait until a snow storm is approaching to buy one, there may not be any available. Have the routine maintenance performed on your snow blower.

Tip #10 – No matter how you heat your home during the cold months, you need to have your heating unit checked out to make sure it is working properly. If you use a kerosene heater for backup heat, make sure you have kerosene on hand and make sure the heater is in good working order with no leaks. If your kerosene heater is leaking it can cause a fire. It would be best to buy a new one if there is a leak.

By performing these routine maintenance measures now, you can prevent possible problems later on during the cold months. If you have to have repair work done during the colder weather, it could be more costly than having the maintenance work done now.

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