Tips for fall home maintenance

Soon, leaves will be falling and, for many, especially those in the Upper Midwest, snow may be looming in the extended weather forecast. It’s time to consider several home maintenance tips that can save on costly repairs in the future.

Clean gutters.
Clogged gutters cause overflowing water during rainstorms that can result in wet basements and damaged foundations. In freezing weather, ice dams can form, creating excessive weight that bends gutters and can damage roofing and soffits. Be sure to take proper safety precautions when climbing ladders by following the rule of three – always have two feet and one hand, or both hands and one foot on the rungs at all times.

Consider an energy audit.
A professional home energy audit or assessment can test your home for air flow, leakage, and efficiency. Many older homes have insufficient insulation, especially surrounding windows and door frames. Tools like an infrared camera and blow door test allow technicians to pinpoint energy loss and diagnose how to correct the problem. Learn more here.

Get a furnace checkup.
Seek a qualified technician to perform an annual inspection of your heating systems, like your furnace, wood stove, or fireplace. Proper maintenance can improve efficiency and operation and, more importantly, check for leaks or malfunctions to protect your family from deadly carbon monoxide poisoning or fire.

Drain garden hoses and store inside.
Not removing garden hoses in freezing weather can result in burst water pipes and costly repairs.

Purchase a programmable thermostat.
According to Energy Star, on average, for an initial investment of $50 to $100, you will save $180 annually on heating (and cooling) bills by programming your thermostat to no higher than 70 degrees while at home, and no more than 62 degrees when you’re asleep or away.

Inspect your home’s exterior.
Check for peeling paint or loose siding, which can cause water damage or breakage under heavy snow. Caulk around windows and doors. Inspect the roof for missing shingles and loose flashing around skylights and chimneys where water and snow will find its way in. Replace any curled or buckling shingles.

Owning your own home can be a great investment. Be sure to protect that investment with proper maintenance. Preparing for the colder winter months now can prevent costly headaches later.

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