Top Ten October Maintenance Tips to Ensure Your Home is in Peak Condition for Winter


The leaves are falling.   Football season is in full swing.  Crisp fall air is here.  It is time to make sure that your home is ready for the winter months by taking care of necessary maintenance and organization. With the following list, your home will be in perfect shape for the cooler months ahead.

  1. Clean rain gutters after the leaves fall. Leaves and other debris can clog your rain gutters, causing leaks, ice dams and other problems.  After the leaves have fallen, clean out the gutters and downspouts, flush them with water, inspect joints, and tighten brackets if necessary. Replace old or damaged gutters with new ones that have built-in leaf guards.  Also, have your windows and screens washed if you did not do so in the spring or if they now appear dirty after the summer months. Inspect and maintain your heating system.
  2. Inspect and maintain your heating system.  Have your heating system checked by a licensed heating contractor to be sure that the system is clean and in good repair and can achieve its manufacturer-rated efficiency.  Replace and clean your furnace and humidifier filters regularly  — at least every 30 days — during the heating season.  Bacteria and spores can develop in a dirty water tank resulting in unclean moisture misting out into your room.  When properly serviced, heating systems will use fuel more efficiently, last longer and have fewer problems.
  3. Make any necessary repairs to your roof and siding.  Have a roofing professional inspect your roof and siding for any missing and loose shingles.  If there are any damaged areas, it is important to take care of any issues prior to the first frost.  Trim any tree branches that interfere with your roof and siding.  Check the flashing around your chimneys and any openings in roof.   It is better to proactively deal with repairs in the fall than to discover a leaky roof during a snowstorm.
  4. Shut off outdoor faucets and sprinkler system and roll hoses.   Freezing temperatures can cause damage to hoses, pipes and your sprinkler system.  Make sure to shut off all exterior faucets, and winterize your sprinkler systems before the first freeze.  Drain all hoses and store them inside your home.
  5. Check safety devices.  Take a minute to test and check your carbon monoxide detectors and smoke detectors to make sure that they are in working order.  Change batteries as needed.
  6. Clean, put away and/or cover your lawn furniture and grillStow away and/or cover the lawn furniture and grill during the winter months to maintain their new look.  With Chicago winters, outdoor furniture can wear out quickly.   Store pillows in your garage or basement.  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.
  7. Apply weather stripping and caulk to doors and windows.  Proper sealing and insulation can save up to 20% on winter heating costs.  Apply weather stripping to exterior doors and windows.  Inspect weather stripping around doors and windows and repair or replace, if necessary.  Caulk exterior joints around windows and doors.  Caulking helps keep your house weather tight and lowers your heating bills.
  8. Clean and organize your garage, mudroom and closetsPut away the flip flops, swimsuits and bicycles.  Bring out your sweaters, boots, mittens and hats.  Take a weekend to organize your garage and refresh your mudroom.  Check to see that all of your snow equipment is up and running before the first snowstorm.  When snow arrives you’ll want to have shovels, roof rakes, and snow blowers where you can reach them.  Organizing your mudroom and garage can eliminate some of the chaos of our daily lives.
  9. Inspect and clean your fireplaces and chimneys.  Make sure your fireplaces are in working order.  Have your chimneys cleaned by a licensed chimney sweep.
  10. Fertilize your lawn and plant fall bulbs.  Clear leaves from your lawn, reseed patchy areas and fertilize your lawn with a huge phosphorous mix to ensure healthy grass in the spring.  Mulch plants for winter protection.  Beautify your home by planting flowering bulbs, such as tulips, that will ensure first blooms in the spring.

Properly maintaining your home enhances your home’s economic age, ensures safety and prevents simple upkeep from turning into costly repairs.  If you need help with your fall maintenance repairs, please contact us at Newgard Custom Homes.