Autumn home maintenance can help avoid expensive repairs later

Posted by Jeffrey Anderson ~ October 1, 2012

There are primarily two classifications for remodeling projects you may encounter as a homeowner. The first type can improve your home and may even increase its value, but the second usually isn't quite as much fun: the renovations required to repair damages. While everyone enjoys giving their house an upgrade, working just to get back to where you started can seem like time and money wasted -- especially when the damage was caused by a lack of proper maintenance.

Autumn brings a respite from summer heat and the knowledge that winter is just around the corner. Depending on your locale, there are a few home maintenance tasks that you might want to work into your October schedule. Taking care of them now can prevent expensive damage to your house when cold weather arrives and even if you happen to live where it's always warm, it never hurts to give your home a quick inspection.

3 autumn maintenance tasks

In many parts of the country, winter means cold temperatures and plenty of freezing precipitation -- a drastic change from recent summer weather. You can be ready by digging that heavy coat out from the back of the closet, but your home needs a little preparation as well. Taking care of these three autumn maintenance tasks should be a good start:

  • Gutters and downspouts. Summer thunderstorms with torrential rain and high winds can wreck havoc on your home's gutters and downspouts. Autumn's falling leaves aren't a big help either. Take an hour or so to inspect your home's gutters and downspouts to ensure they're secure, have proper fall, and aren't clogged by leaves or debris. A heavy snow can pull loose guttering off the side of your house and blockages can create ice-damming -- both of which can lead to expensive repairs.
  • Hose bibs and hydrants. Freezing temperatures and outside water lines that haven't been drained aren't a good mix - ask anyone who has ever had a pipe burst. Before the mercury begins to drop into the freezing range, drain the water out of all outside hose bibs and hydrants; and if you have a lawn irrigation system, that should be emptied as well.
  • Furnace. When was the last time you used your furnace? A lot of time has passed since last March or April and the last thing you want on a 20-degree night in January is for your furnace to stop working. Autumn is a good time to change your HVAC filters and schedule for the equipment to be serviced by a trained technician. Keeping your furnace in good shape can mean not having to add a new one to your holiday shopping list in December.

While you may have leaf watching and pumpkin patch visits on your autumn agenda, making time for these maintenance tasks may help avoid the bad type of remodeling projects later.

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