Fall Home improvement: A guide to getting your home and yard winter-ready

As the winter months approach, there’s much to anticipate: hot drinks, football games and getting cozy on those long, chilly nights. While homeowners can enjoy the comfort of the indoors, it’s still important to ensure their property is well prepared — inside and out — for chillier temperatures, ice or snow during the fall and winter seasons.

Use this checklist to ensure your house is ready for cold weather.


Fix the cracks

Before temperatures really dip, check for and seal off cracks and gaps in the home to help keep heating bills down. Walk the perimeter of the house, using caulk to fix any cracks in the foundation, steps and windows. This is also a good time to repair cracks in the driveway and walkway to keep ice from widening them in the winter months.


Feed the lawn now

When it comes to lawn care, the mix of warm soil and cooler air creates ideal conditions for thickening a thin lawn. If you live in a cooler climate and your lawn has grasses like Kentucky bluegrass, fine fescue, perennial ryegrass or tall fescue, make the most of the opportunity and apply lawn food now.


Watch for rodents

The last thing people want while relaxing indoors is to find unwanted guests like mice nesting in the basement or garage. These rodents are unsanitary and can damage wiring, insulation and wood. To deter mice, store food — especially pet food and wild bird seed — in hard containers with fitted lids. If there are signs of mouse activity, set a trap and check and empty it regularly. 


Tune up the furnace

A furnace needs a check-up in the fall to ensure it is free of mechanical issues that could cascade into a full breakdown. For a relatively low fee, an HVAC technician can perform a top-to-bottom inspection and tune-up to make sure it’s ready to keep everyone warm all season long. After inspection, maximize efficiency by changing the filters regularly and vacuuming the registers.


Clear debris from gutters and drain spouts

In the fall, homeowners should clear leaves and other debris from gutters and drain sprouts. Otherwise, blockages can form, leading to water backups that damage the roof and cause dangerous icicles to form. A ladder, work gloves, trowel and container to catch debris are all the tools needed to get the job done in an afternoon. It’s messy work, but it’s a sure way to prevent many colder weather headaches.


Getting your home in shape now will not only keep it running smoothly during the cold weather but will give you peace of mind while enjoying fall activities. (BPT)


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