5 must-haves for any autumn home maintenance checklist


Autumn is upon us, and before you know it, the first snow is going to start to fall. Even with all the wishing in the world, the temperatures will still drop, and ahead of winter, you need to spend some time on your property.

In order to protect your home, you must focus on some seasonal maintenance strategies that can ensure your house is safe and secure during the coldest months of the year. Thankfully, these tips and tricks are both cost-effective and relatively easy to take care of, which means you can have more time indoors by the fire and less time plugging up leaks and gaps in your home.

To get started, here are five effective home maintenance steps that you should take every fall:

1. Inspect your property
The first step you need to take is to inspect your property for problems. Once fall hits, take a walk around the outside of your house and look for obvious flaws, such as damaged or missing shingles, cracks in the foundation or busted windows and doors. Any issues such as these will cripple your home's heating and cooling efficiency, resulting in serious energy bills this winter. It is also smart to inspect your gutters to ensure that they are working properly for when snow starts to fall. Any problems you find at this time should be quickly fixed.

2. Install weatherstripping on doors and windows
Next on your list should be weatherstripping for your doors and windows, even if these components are in good working order. Weatherstripping is designed to keep cold air out and warm air in, and it will plug up any gaps you might have. The best reason to do this is to prevent winter drafts, and it will also keep your heating bill to a minimum when you'll be relying on it the most.

3. Pay attention to your pipes
During the summer, you depend on your hoses and pipes to get water to your yard and plants. Once fall rolls around, however, all that watering has come to an end. Now, it is time to make sure all exterior water pipes are turned off and successfully drained. Any moisture left over can freeze and cause your pipes to burst. Inside your home, consider wrapping exposed pipes in the proper insulation to stop the same thing from happening in your basement, kitchen or bathroom.

4. Get ready to heat your home
While you might not need it yet, you will soon be using your home's heater on a regular basis. That makes fall the perfect time to ensure everything is in proper working order. For example, inspect your fireplace or furnace for any problems. If you have a wood-burning stove, now is the time you want to gather up a lot of the logs you'll need this winter. It can also be smart to bring in a professional to look over these components, just to make sure there aren't any serious issues.

5. Check over your insulation
One more step you should take this fall is to inspect your home's insulation. Damaged or missing insulation can let all that hot air escape during the winter, so look at your attic for problems, as well as your basement. Adding store-bought fiberglass insulation is simple, but keep in mind that the foil side (not the pink, fiberglass side) must be facing the heated area. Otherwise, you can create a moisture problem in your home.

The information in this article is intended to provide guidance on the proper maintenance and care of systems and appliances in the home. Not all of the topics mentioned are covered by our home warranty or maintenance plans. Please review your home warranty contract carefully to understand your coverage.