5 Fall Maintenance Tips for Your Home

By Mike Holmes

Mike’s Advice / Home Safety & Maintenance

Friday, September 14th, 2018 @ 4:11pm

The leaves are starting to change (here in Toronto, I saw some reds and yellows on the trees during the first week of September) and that means that summer is almost over and fall is well on its way.

Your main job as a homeowner during the fall season is to make sure your home is prepared to face the onslaught that the winter months bring. Believe me, when it’s below freezing in January, you don’t want to be dealing with a leaky or damaged roof!

Here are some of the major areas you want to focus on this autumn. Get started now, and you’ll be prepared to face anything that winter brings.


5. Falling Leaves

Do you have any major trees in your yard? Look for instances of dead or dying branches – in case of a bad winter windstorm you dont want to risk a fallen branch doing damage to your roof. Have it checked out by a tree specialist, and have them remove it if necessary.

When the leaves come down, they can get everywhere! While its good to get in the habit of raking your lawns and gardens out at the end of the season, dont ignore spots you cant easily see. Im talking about your gutters! If leaves or other debris gunk up your gutters, youre blocking the path water needs to travel so its expelled safely away from your home. When your gutters are jammed, water can flow right over top, dropping it directly against your foundation – and thats asking for trouble.

Did You Know?

If youve got a lot of trees, and are tired of climbing the ladder every weekend to clear out the gutters, consider installing a gutter guard overtop like the Smart Screen. Leaves and other junk will stay out of the gutters, and blow right off your roof, harmlessly onto the lawn.


4. Replace Caulking and Weatherstripping

I say this all the time, but a draft house can account for upwards of 30% of a home’s heat loss. That’s huge! There’s a simple way to fight this heat loss. Before winter hits, walk around your home and do a check of all the windows and doors. You’re looking for instances of missing or broken caulking and weatherstripping.

Make sure you use caulking that’s rated for outdoor use – and one that can expand and contract with the home. We’ve been using Sika products on the job site lately, and they are simple to use for your basic DIY jobs.

One added benefit to replacing your caulking and weatherstripping is that it can help deter rodents from taking up residence in your home during the winter. It’s true – a mouse can fit through a hole about the diameter of a quarter. It doesn’t take much – so if they find any holes around your doors, windows, or exhaust pipes, you’ll want to take extra care that they’re sealed.

3. Look Up to Your Roof

With all the snow, ice, and wind, old man winter can cause some major damage to an older roof.  A roof inspection in the fall is never a bad idea. Look for any missing or loose shingles as they may allow water and snow to creep into your attic space.

Its not too late to hire a roofer before the winter sets in, should you need to do a replacement job. Call soon, as you may find their schedules filling up quickly with the change of season fast approaching.

Fall Maintenance Tips - Mike Smiling

If you’re cleaning your roof and getting ready for the colder weather, avoid using pressure washers and harsh chemicals.

2. Check the Chimney

If you’re someone who likes a big roaring fire during this time of the year, don’t strike that first match until you make sure you’re chimney is in good shape.

How often should you have your chimney cleaned? That depends on overall usage, but if you plan to make use of it, it should be inspected by an expert once per year.

You should also have the exterior of the chimney inspected to make sure the structure isn’t crumbling. If you don’t have one – you’ll also want to have a chimney cap installed to prevent any critters from getting trapped inside.

Finally – and this goes whether you have a chimney or not – make sure your smoke detectors are in proper working order. Test them once a month, and change the batteries twice a year. I change mine when the clocks change.

1. Make Walkways Walkable

Go up and down your exterior walkways and stairs. Youre looking for anything that could be a tripping hazard, especially during the winter time.

Look out for things like broken paving stones that shift, or loose stair railings that need to be secured. If anything is starting to crumble, nows the time to get it fixed.

And make sure you have plenty of deicing agent on hand for any unannounced winter storms. Its your responsibility to keep your walkways clear, and safe.

Fall Maintenance Tips - Mike working on stairs

If needed don’t be afraid to rebuild your stairs. Doing renovations now before the winter could improve longevity and make your home safer.

Read next: 6 Tips for preparing your house for fall & winter

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