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Fall home maintenance checklist

The autumn weather is slipping in, which means winter won’t be far behind. With the unpredictability of 2020 so far, who knows what we’re in store for! To be safe, make sure your home is ready for the chills of the Northeast. Use this home maintenance checklist to cover the major “pain points” of winter living.

Clean the gutters. You should clear out the debris in spring and fall to ensure that water flows freely. Blockages, like leaves and sticks, can cause the rain and melting snow to back up and seep into your home. Here’s a tip: Wear gloves to avoid cuts from sharp pieces in the gutter and use a metal spatula to scrape out the gutter clutter.

 Inspect your roof. The dead of winter is the worst time to experience a leaky roof. Either get up there and look for yourself (maybe while you’re cleaning those gutters) or hire a professional to check for cracked, damaged, or missing shingles. Make sure the flashings are sturdy because they’ll prevent melting snow from damaging your interior walls.

Clear out the dryer vent. It’s not enough to remove the lint from the filter in your dryer. Plenty of that flammable substance slips out into the vent. When your clothes aren’t drying completely on one cycle, it could be the sign of a clogged vent. You can do it yourself with a dryer vent cleaning kit or hire a service to do it for you. Your dryer will not have to work as hard, which means you’ll save energy (and money).

Check for drafts. Don’t let the cold air sneak into your home. Take a close look at the  weatherstripping around exterior doors, windows, and faucets. Replace or repair any cracks you find. Also check for leaks coming from electrical outlets. Hold a lit candle near the outlet. If the flame flickers, you have a draft, which results from insufficient insulation. You can seal it by inserting foam insulation inside the outlet’s cover.

Service your furnace. You’ll rely on heat all winter so be sure your furnace is up to the task. Have the furnace inspected by a professional to troubleshoot any potential problems. Don’t let something minor turn into a major problem in the dead of winter!

Clean and replace air filters. Indoor air quality is an essential factor in your home, and even more so when you’re spending months inside. Do you want to inhale unclean air? Take a few minutes to clean or replace your home’s air filters to keep the bacteria, allergens, and pollutants outside.

Change the batteries in your detectors. Don’t wait for the annoying beep to signal the battery is low. While you’re working through your fall home maintenance checklist, change the battery in your smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

Rake and fertilize the lawn. Right before the lawn goes into hibernation, give it some loving care. Rake up the leaves and debris. As they decay, they attract pests and diseases that will damage your lawn and plants, as well as preventing some nutrients from feeding the soil. Next, give the root systems a boost of fertilizer. This simple step protects your lawn through the winter and gives you a head start on a greener spring.

Prune trees and shrubs. Remove the dead limbs now to promote new growth in the spring. Don’t cut beyond any greenery because you’ll destroy the healthy parts you want to keep. Also trim branches that are close to your home so that they don’t break off and become projectiles in a heavy wind.

Disconnect and stash hoses. Preserve your hoses by draining any water remaining inside them and storing them in a dry place. While you’re at it, shut off the water supply to those faucets and drain them to prevent the water from freezing in the pipes.

All of these home maintenance chores are important to protecting your comfort during the winter months ahead, as well as protecting your investment. Don’t try to rush through it in one weekend. Plan out a schedule to work through the list. That simple step will keep you on track and working at a pace that’s doable.

If your home is requiring more work and expense than you like, it might be time to buy a new home. Imagine all the benefits of a new construction home, where nothing is suffering the effects of time and you have a warranty that covers it from top to bottom. With the historically low interest rates on home mortgages we’re seeing right now, you can also get more home for your money.

Kettler Forlines Homes has been building award-winning homes in Maryland and Northern Virginia for more than 40 years. We’re building beautiful, single-family homes in The Reserve at Brightwell Crossing in Poolesville, MD, and also building on land owned by our homebuyers. Kettler Forlines Homes offers a full range of options for building a new home, so let’s talk about how we can give you the home and the life you want.