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The cool autumn air and changing colors serve as a reminder that fall is definitely here and getting your home prepared for the colder months will help alleviate possible stressors down the road. As you put your summer clothes away in bins and start looking for the hats and jackets you shoved to the back of the closet all summer, you may also want to start thinking about getting your work gloves and rakes out of the shed. We’ve come up with a quick checklist of house maintenance to do’s that might help eliminate issues you’d otherwise have during the cold spells. These suggestions can be tackled in a few hours and ultimately make your life easier when Spring comes around. These tips will also help promote longevity of your property and increase your ability to sell down the road without too many roadblocks. Grab your partner, kids or willing friends and get busy, you’ll surely appreciate the effort when it’s snowing outside, and your gutters aren’t overflowing with pine needles AND snow.

CLEAN OUT THE GUTTERS & INSPECT ROOF FOR DAMAGE OR LEAKS

Ah, no one loves this job, but we all need to do it at least annually, ideally twice a year. A few hours of work can prevent big problems down the road. While you’re up on that ladder, visually inspect your roof for damaged shingles, flashing or vents. You can also inspect the chimney if you have one. Leaks might be harder to spot but you will know once the first rain hits, so remember to check for water damage as soon as the moisture comes.

CHECK FOR DRAFTS IN DOORS & WINDOWS

Inspect the area around windows and doors for any visible gaps or cracking in the caulking. Repair those cracks by sealing with a fresh layer of caulk. Sealing cracks and making sure your attic is properly insulated will not only save you money in heating costs, it could help reduce your risk of an ice dam. Ice dams occur when water located around the eaves of your roof freeze and form icicles and create actual dams of ice, preventing further snowmelt and water from rolling off the roof. The water must go somewhere, and it usually ends up running into your walls and ceilings. Ice damage can cause severe damage inside your home, but proper insulation will help keep the eaves clear of icicles and ice dams. Hire a professional if you are concerned or don’t feel comfortable doing this yourself.

BLOW OUT SPRINKLERS & HOSES

A really important step is to drain garden hoses and disconnect them from the outside spigots. You’ll also want to shut off any exterior faucets, and if you have an older home, you may need to turn off the valve inside your home. Storing your hoses in a dry place is always recommended so any residual water left in the hoses won’t freeze. Your sprinklers and irrigation systems should be turned off and/or drained. Sprinkler blow-outs are necessary because when it drops into freezing temperatures, any water still trapped in the pipes can freeze, expand and ultimately crack the piping.  Again, best to have a professional perform any necessary repairs that you don’t feel comfortable performing on your own.

If this is a new home for you and your first Fall and Winter in the house, asking your real estate broker about additional tips could be useful so you can get to know the house and the history of previous season wear and tear.