As much as we might not want to think about it just yet, cold winter winds and snowstorms are just around the corner. Fall is the perfect time to do a little maintenance around your house so you can cozy in come winter and not have to worry about drafts, frozen pipes, and running out to the store for last-minute must-haves. 

Check these 10 important items off your list now so they won’t become an even bigger problem in the cold.

1. Clean or Replace Gutters and Downspouts

All those beautiful fall leaves unfortunately end up in gutters and downspouts around your home. Once most of the leaves are off the trees, clear these out to prevent water from pooling in your roof or siding or creating a flooded, frozen mess down below. 

Always use caution when getting up on a ladder. If you’re not comfortable cleaning your gutters yourself, hire a professional to complete the job safely.

2. Perform Wood Burning Stove and Furnace Maintenance 

If you heat your home with a wood burning stove, make sure the pipes and chimney are completely clear and free of debris. Check to see that all fire bricks are in good condition and that the seal on the door is working properly.

If you use a furnace, inspect and clean the pilot light, heat exchangers, burners, and air filter. If you’re not sure what to look for, consider hiring a professional to service your furnace at least once a year. 

3. Drain Outdoor Faucets  

Do you have a garden hose or water lines for farming or animals on your property? If so, take the time to properly drain hoses and shut off exterior faucets that aren’t specifically designed to be used in cold temperatures. Store hoses inside so you can easily pull them out in the spring without any cracks or leaks.

4. Check for and Repair Exterior Holes and Cracks 

Critters will be looking for a way into your warm home shortly, so check for any holes or cracks that could make an easy entrance point. Seal them up now to avoid a rodent problem in the winter.

5. Test Winter Equipment

Have a snowblower you haven’t fired up since last year? Pull it out, dust it off, and make sure it’s working properly before the first snow. 

6. Check Smoke Detector Batteries 

Check the smoke detectors in your home at least twice a year, especially in the fall before you’ll be heating your home and lighting fires in the fireplace all winter long. 

Don’t forget other fire safety tips, too, like making sure you have working fire extinguishers and know how to use them, and never use the stove to heat your home. 

7. Check Railings and Walkways

Make sure all railings and walkways are secure and safe to use. When sidewalks become icy in the winter, you want to know that the railing isn’t going to come down with you if you slip. Repair any cracks in sidewalks and driveways now to keep them from crumbling even more over the winter.

8. Stock up on Winter Essentials 

Do you use wood to heat your home? Need propane or fuel oil refilled? Stock up on ice melt, snow shovels, and other must-have winter items now. You don’t want to be without these things when the first cold spell or snowstorm hits.

9. Check for Drafts 

Drafts coming in from underneath doors or through old windows can quickly let heat out and up your heating costs this winter. A quick check in the fall and some inexpensive weatherstrips, draft stoppers, or window wraps can have a big impact on your home’s heating efficiency once Jack Frost comes knocking.

10. Remove or Cover Window AC Units 

If you have window air conditioning units, remove them and seal up the window or purchase sturdy covers to keep the draft out. 

In Summary

Putting in a little time and effort now can save you stress, headache, and even money on your first heating bill of the season – not to mention help keep you and your family safe and warm all winter long.