Fall home maintenance checklist - Get ready for winter

Rain gutter full of fall leavesDid you know that homes sustain the most damage from natural elements during the winter? Cold weather, ice and snow all combine to wreak havoc on your home, your yard and your heating bill.  There are some things you can do now, while the temperatures are above freezing and the ground is clear of snow, to help ensure that your home and yard are prepared to meet the challenges of even the toughest Edmonton winter weather.

Clean gutters and downspouts
Water backing up from clogged gutters can cause a lot of damage to your home. Gutters accumulate various debris during the summer and leaves in the fall. Gutter cleaning pros usually recommend cleaning them once early in the fall and again after all the leaves are down.

Make exterior repairs
If you need roof or siding repairs or someone to fix a patio door, entrance door or window, best to get it done before the inclement weather.

Check for drafts
Air coming in around windows, doors, vents and other openings isn’t usually noticeable during the warmer months, but it sure can inflate your heating bill when the weather turns cold! Identify those problem areas now so you can address them.

Fix cracks in your driveway
Moisture accumulates in even the smallest crack in your driveway. Freezing and melting moisture will expand these cracks, making them worse by the time spring comes. Patch them now.

Fertilize your lawn
Believe it or not the best time to fertilize your lawn is fall. Even though the grass isn’t growing, the roots are active. Fertilizing now will help protect it over the winter so your lawn looks its best by the following spring.

Stock up on winter supplies
Better to buy that snow shovel or snow blower now instead of trying to fight the crowd right before the first big storm. Also stock up on any supplies you need for your winter power tools.

Seal gaps around windows and doors with weatherstripping or caulk
Even if it isn’t causing a draft, gaps around your window frames are an invitation to damage from ice and snow, especially if your frames are wood. Learn how to caulk a window.

Change screens to storm windows
Once summer has gasped its last breath, it’s a good time to remove screens and exchange them for storm windows, if you have them.

Fix any loose or damaged window/door frames
Winter precipitation will only make them get worse. If the problems are extensive, consider calling a door and window repair service

Check your heating system
Start off the winter fresh by changing your furnace filter. If you have a heating system that requires regular maintenance, call your heating service for an appointment now – before they get really busy. They will clean, inspect and tune your system to make sure its operating safely and performing efficiently.

Have your chimney inspected and cleaned
Chimneys vent dangerous gasses from your furnace or fireplace – they need to be in good shape and free of debris that could catch fire. Again, call your chimney service now – once it gets cold you’ll have to wait for an appointment.

Trim tree limbs that are close to power lines, cables and your roof.
Tree limbs often become overloaded with ice and snow and break. Make sure limbs prone to breaking aren’t hanging over your roof, car, walkways, power or internet / phone cables.

Clean dryer vents
You should do this periodically to prevent fires.

Remove air conditioning units
If you have window or wall A/C, remove them to store for the winter.  If you’re unable to remove them, cover them up to protect them and to prevent cold air from seeping into the house.

Are your entrance doors in tip-top shape to fend off blasts of cold winter air?
If you're in Edmonton, call the replacement door experts at Reflect Window & Door for a free consultation on an attractive, energy efficient replacement door or repairing your existing door.