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Fall is almost upon us. Are you and your home ready for the coming season?

If you’re not sure, you’re in luck. We’ve put together the ultimate fall home maintenance checklist to help you make sure that you have all your key maintenance tasks covered. Read on below to see if you have anything left to do. If you complete all the tasks on this list, you can rest easy knowing that your home will stay safe and dry all season long.

Don’t forget to clean out your gutters. Image: Sundeleaf Painting

Clean out your gutters

The season is changing and with it comes falling leaves and heavy rainstorms. Do your best to make sure that your gutters are clear to handle any of these occurrences and the resulting muck. Unfortunately, when left untreated, clogs can cause pooling, standing water and runoff in inappropriate locations, which can lead to water damage.

How: Fortunately, cleaning a gutter is fairly simple. Starting close to the downspout, you’ll want to use gloved hands to get rid of any debris that’s gotten stuck in the gutters. Once all the solid debris is gone, use a hose to wash out the remains and make sure water is running through the gutters properly. The biggest concern, in this case, is safety. Make sure you have a spotter while you’re up on the ladder.

Seal off windows, doorways and exterior cracks. Image: Landmark Custom Builder & Remodeling, LLC

Seal up windows, doors and cracks

As the weather turns colder, gaps and cracks in a house can become readily apparent. On the one hand, doors and windows can let in airflow, resulting in chilly rooms and increased heating bills.  On the other, small, unnoticed cracks on the exterior of your home can provide entry points for mice and other pests that are trying to escape dropping temperatures.

How: Again, this is an easy fix. Applying a few lengths of weather stripping around drafty windows and doors is typically enough to keep your heat sealed in and your bills manageable. Cracks, though, require a bit more effort. They require caulking with a silicone-based caulk that rodents will not be able to detect as easily.

Hire someone to service your fireplace and heater. Image: Elms Interior Design

Service your heater and fireplace

On a cold, winter day, the last thing you want is to discover that your main heat source is broken. With that in mind, it’s crucial to take care of home maintenance before disaster strikes. Take time in the fall – before bitter temps truly hit – to have your heater and fireplace serviced. That way, you can make sure that your family stays warm all winter long.

How: Normally, we’re all for going DIY, but this is one place where it’s truly worth it to bring in the professionals. They’ll be able to safely inspect your fireplace and chimney from the roof, as well as to really understand the inner workings of your heating unit. On your end, just be sure to get on the schedule for an appointment early in the season. That way, you won’t have to risk encountering a problem while you’re waiting to be seen.

Make sure to prune your landscaping. Image: Greenhaven Landscapes Inc

Prune and rake your landscaping

Yes, the leaves on your landscaping will fall off on their own, but nearly all prudent gardening advice recommends pruning them anyway. If you do so, they will have much better growth the following spring. Additionally, though it may be a hassle to keep up with on a regular basis, you really should dispose of the leaves on your lawn rather than letting them decompose naturally. Choosing not to rake could inhibit your grass growth next year.

How: Fall pruning is a much more laid-back exercise than it is in the spring, Rather than chopping back entire sections, simply remove dead sections. It’s important to note that it’s best to prune plants after they’ve entered their winter dormancy period, so don’t be afraid to leave this task until the end of the season, just before winter temperatures really hit.