Fall Home Maintenance Part 2 | Shelter Insurance®

Fall Home Maintenance Part 2

Image: Man rakes fall leaves

Early fall is a great time to get outside and weather-proof your home and other exterior belongings. There are also several things you can do inside your home to get ready for the cold months ahead. Most of us know about weather-stripping, cleaning dryer vents, shutting off exterior faucets and removing window A/C units, but there are other things that you may accidentally overlook.  Make a list and check it twice and be sure to include all of the below items. Also, refer to our Fall Home Maintenance Tips Part 1 for other great bits of information to help you get all buttoned up and ready for winter.

Yard & Garden – Taking care of your yard and garden properly in the fall will make yardwork easier in the spring. Since you’re already planning to rake up those leaves to jump into, use some of them as coverage on your plants to help protect them through the winter. Also, cut your grass short by setting your mower to cut 1-1/2 or 2-inch. This will help prevent snow mold from forming and will keep tall grass blades from smothering the new grass next spring.

Winterize Your Gas Grill – Many people maintain their grills in the fall by cleaning out old grease and food scraps, but there are several other things you can do to prevent issues next year when you fire the grill back up. First, shut off the gas at the LP tank, unfasten the burner, slip gas tubes off the lines and remove the unit. To prevent any rust from forming, coat the burners and other metal parts with cooking oil. Keep insects from getting into the gas tubes by wrapping the burner unit in a plastic bag. If you’re storing your grill outside, keep the propane tank connected but shut off and put a protective cover over the entire grill. If you’re storing your grill inside, do not bring the propane tank inside – not even into your garage or a storage shed, as a small gas leak could cause an explosion when stored in an enclosed space. Instead, simply disconnect the tank and store it outside in an upright position away from dryer or furnace vents or children’s play areas.

Examine Your Pool Cover –
Check your pool cover for any damage or small tears so that you can make repairs now or replace it before the first flurry falls.

Store Lawn Chairs – Move your lawn chairs and patio umbrella to storage to keep them out of the elements during the cold months. Since space is a precious commodity for many, use the space you have by creating a storage area on the wall of your shed or garage. Use boards or brackets to create a 30-degree angle hook to hang folding lawn chairs.

Walkways, Railings, Stairs & Your Driveway – Once snow is here, it’s too late to see where potential safety hazards are, so do a quick check from your driveway to the front door to make sure stairs are in good shape, railings are sturdy and secure and that the driveway is in good repair to make for easier shoveling. Remove rocks, dog tie-out cables, extension cords, and any garden hoses should be coiled and stored. Go the extra step and stake out paths that run near your gardens so you don’t accidently suck up rocks or garden edging with your snow blower. Here are 4 Winterizing Tips for Your Home.

Window Wells – Water in your window well? Something as simple as a clogged gutter can dump a lot of water next to your house and run into your window wells. Leaves or other debris will prevent water from draining out and the water level could rise and damage or even break basement windows. If this happens, you could have a lot of water in your basement. Keep window wells clean and covered so this does not happen to you.

Winter Supplies – Stock up now on The Best Firewood and spend some time stacking it in a covered area so it is easily accessible this winter. Also, check the condition of your snow shovels, snow blower and ice scrapers so they can be replaced before they are needed.

Plumbing –
Prevent Frozen Pipes by making sure they are well insulated. In the event that they do freeze, make sure you know how to locate and turn off the water shut-off valve.

Smoke Alarms, Carbon Dioxide Detectors and Fire Safety – Did you know that National Chimney Safety Week and National Fire Prevention Week are both observed in the month of October? With folks everywhere preparing to use their chimneys again for the first time this season in addition to space heaters and other home warming devices, it’s a good time to check in with your kiddos and the adults too, to be sure everyone is aware of what to do in case of a fire. Double check that Smoke Alarm, get that Fireplace Cleaned and schedule a heating system maintenance check. Also, if you don’t already have one, install a carbon dioxide detector. They save lives. Finally, read these Fire Safety 101 tips, just in case. 

Critters – It only takes a tiny gap to allow mice and other critters into your home. Fill any small holes and cover bigger gaps with a heavy-duty material to keep wildlife where it belongs – outside.

Conduct an Energy Audit – While many of us try to be extra energy efficient during the cooler months, it’s still a good idea to have your home’s current energy efficiency checked by a trained auditor. They should be able to provide a list of improvements that you can make. Want to do it yourself? Check out Energy.gov for a do-it-yourself energy audit checklist. Quick tip: Change the direction of your ceiling fans to create an upward draft that redistributes warm air from the ceiling.

Fall is the perfect time to touch base with your local Shelter agent to help you choose the proper coverage on your home and outdoor belongings before winter arrives. Give your agent a call today!

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