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Cooler temperatures are starting to settle in, and it’s time to be proactive about caring for your home as winter approaches. While it’s important to look after your home all-year-round, protecting your home from wear and tear looks a little different in the weeks preceding the colder months of the year. Taking proper care of your home’s exterior is key to retaining your home’s longevity and value.

We’ve created a simple fall home maintenance checklist for you to reference as you prepare your home for the upcoming seasons.

1. Clean your gutters.

Dead leaves, twigs, and pinecones make fall a particularly essential season to clean your gutters. Plant remnants swept up by the wind and precipitation easily deposit themselves in your gutters and downspouts, which can cause major water damage to your home if they aren’t removed. When left unattended, backed-up gutters are often the culprits behind a leaky roof, mold and mildew growth, rotting wood, and pest infestations outside and inside of your house. We recommend wearing safety glasses and gloves when suiting up for the job and using a gutter scoop to remove everything blocking water flow.

2. Install weather stripping.

Fall and winter are often accompanied by drafts that can make your home chilly if it’s not properly outfitted to prevent them. An easy way to stop drafts and subsequently decrease your heating bill is by adding caulking or weather stripping—material that lines your door or window joints and sills to exclude rain, snow, and cold air—to your doors and windows, keeping the weather outside where it belongs. You’ll be surprised by how much weather stripping can cut down your energy costs, and adding it to your house is a great way to protect your home from the elements.

3. Replace your furnace filter.

After every long fall and winter, your furnace filter is likely full of dirt and debris from the air circulating inside of your home. To keep this from causing your furnace to overheat and malfunction (which is a fire hazard in addition to being noisy), replacing your furnace filter is key. Proactively installing a new filter promotes proper airflow at the start of the fall/winter and ensures that the furnace actually releases heat like it’s supposed to—instead of allowing an old, clogged filter to trap the heat in the furnace and cause overheating.

4. Insulate your water pipes.

Autumn often brings the first frost, which makes your pipes vulnerable to freezing if they aren’t well-insulated from the dip in temperature. Not only are frozen pipes a pain to unfreeze, but they’re also quite susceptible to bursting or breaking when they’re frozen—that’s reason enough to take every measure to prevent freezing from occurring! You can insulate your water pipes in a variety of ways, including conventional foam insulation, self-sealing foam insulation, and fiberglass pipe covers. To figure out what type of insulation is best for your specific pipes, it’s smart to consult a professional and discuss what types of pipes you’re insulating (hot or cold water pipes) and where they’re located.

5. Remove lint from your dryer vents.

Cool autumn weather means there’s more static electricity in the air, which makes your lint-filled dryer vents more susceptible to fire than during other seasons. Lessening this fire hazard can be as simple as removing built-up lint from your dryer vents with your hands or a vacuum cleaner. Be sure to turn off your dryer and cut power from the unit before detaching the vent hose and clearing it of any lint. It’s also integral to clean the exterior dryer vent as well as the hose—this helps reduce the odds of a dryer fire.

By tackling these five action items and performing a careful assessment of your home, you’ll be in a good position to prepare your home to face fall and winter weather. While assessing your home, make note of any repairs, renovations, remodeling projects, or additions that may make your home a more pleasant place to be during the upcoming cold months.

Now is a fantastic time to discuss fall project planning or updating your home in any capacity, and we’d love to help you transform your house into the home of your dreams. Reach out to the G.P. Harris team by calling (717) 454-7870 or filling out the form on our contact page