After leaves have fallen, clean out gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Clogged gutters are one of the major causes of ice dams. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.
Inspect exterior walls to see if any paint is peeling or blistering on the house or outbuildings. Peeling paint is a sign that the existing paint film is failing and can no longer protect the siding of the building. Left uncorrected, the siding itself will deteriorate, leading to expensive repairs in the future.
Be sure to caulk around windows and door frames to prevent heat from escaping. Caulking and sealing openings is one of the least expensive maintenance jobs. Openings in the structure can cause water to get in and freeze, resulting in cracks and mold buildup.
Make sure the roof is in good shape. Inspect for missing or loose shingles. Ice, rain, snow, and wind combined with rapidly changing temperatures and humidity wreak havoc on roofs. Your roof is your first defense in protecting your home. It’s better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.
Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor. Heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer, and have fewer problems if properly serviced. Get your wood stove and fireplace in working order. Make sure your wood stove or fireplace insert’s door gasket for a tight seal.
Test and change the batteries in your smoke and carbon dioxide detectors and keep extra household batteries on hand.
Change the direction of your ceiling fan to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling. Clean your humidifiers regularly during the heating season. Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.
Vacuum internal parts of air conditioners. Remove units from windows or wrap the outside box with an approved tarp or plastic air conditioner cover.
Prepare your yard equipment for storage. This includes draining fuel from all gas-operated equipment such as lawn mowers, leaf blowers, and chain saws. Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first flurry falls. Organize your snow clearing gear. When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can get to them.
Clean porch and deck furniture, and look for any needed repairs. Cover and store outdoor furniture and barbecues in a protected area. Make sure all soil is emptied from pots and planters. Dirt left in clay pots will freeze and cause the pots to crack if left outside.